"Ella me dijo que yo debía estar aquí."
Translation:She told me that I should be here.
We use "should" in English in a similar way, but you have to recognize it from context and tone. For instance:
"Where is he?"
"Well, I think he should be at home."
Here, the speaker supposes that the person being discussed is at home, but is not entirely certain. On the other hand:
"Well, I think he should be at home."
In this case, with the emphasis on "should", the speaker really is saying that the person spoken of has a duty to be at home. He might've left, but if so, he's doing something wrong.
As jboalml noted deber can be used to express obligation or likelihood.
Deber can mean must, should or ought in the sense of obligation. As in, She must/should/ought not do that. Using the conditional form of deber (e.g., debería) softens the sense of obligation to should.
Deber de means 'must' in the sense of strong likelihood. As in, She must be out of town. The site notes that in some regions, the de is often dropped in spoken Spanish. It also notes that the use of deber de to express obligation (e.g., El debe de hacer la comida) is considered poor Spanish.
What you're saying about the preposition sounds like it must be right, but I don't actually understand it (yet). I simply haven't heard "probably" associated with "deber" at all. But in English when we're wondering where someone is, we might often say "He should be at home [now] [soon]" -- and that is a little bit different than "He is probably at home," but it seems to me it's close enough to reflect deber's "ought to" or "should" meanings. I'm wondering if you really mean to say "He should be at home" instead of "He is probably at home"?
Right, but then it makes some sentences ambiguous for people learning Spanish. No doubt dropping the de is no problem for the people who live in those countries, but for people learning Spanish, it would make it more confusing as to what exactly is meant.
"Debía hacerlo John" without de could then mean any of the following:
"John used to have to do it."
"John ought to/should do it."
"John must have done it."
On the other hand, "Debía de hacerlo John" = John must have done it.
I am having a really hard time with this section.. Especially when the hints show (I/he/she/it/you) used to owe
(I/he/she/it/you) was/were owing
And this sentence has nothing to do with owing anything.. I understand that the hints aren't always correct but how am I supposed to learn? I am so confused right now.
I still prefer debiera if the idea is "She told me to be here." When one person "commands" another person to do something, it's subjunctive. When one person "commanded" another person in the past, it's past subjunctive. That's why all the commands look like subjunctive. :) (They ARE)
I disagree. Spanish is my mother tongue and the sentence is correct as is. It conveys the idea that I had to be here, in the past. Debiera is wrong in any case (at least in Spanish from Spain). You could also use "debería", but that would change the meaning slightly. It would mean that she expected me to be here in the present but I am not. Obviously, this sentence does not make sense, as if she is capable of telling me this right now is because I am actually here.
Interesting. In the reverse course, the present tense of deber is translated as must, and the conditional debería is translated as should. That gave me the impression that Spanish was similar to English in that debo/must is a much stronger obligation that debería/should. Is that not the case in Spain?
According to my grammar book, it says that both debía (imperfect) and debería (conditional) translate as "should" or "ought to." On the other hand, this sentence is indirect speech (reported speech).
What is conditional in estilo indirecto would have been future in direct speech (estilo directo). (Yesterday) she said, "You must (will have to be) here tomorrow" = Ella dijo, "Debe estarás aquí mañana" Or since the conditional in direct speech stays conditional in indirect speech, she might have said, "You should be here tomorrow." = "Debería estar aquí mañana."
What is imperfect in estilo indirecto would have been present in direct speech (estilo directo). She said, "You must be here." = Ella dijo, "Debe estar aquí."
So, it seems to me that if what she actually said yesterday was "You will have to be here tomorrow," = "Debe estarás aquí mañana" or "You should be here tomorrow" = "Debería estar aquí mañana," then using the conditional today to report: "Ella dijo que debería estar aquí hoy" should be okay. Or am I misunderstanding something (entirely possible).
I translated this as "She told me that I should have been here," and the official translation is "She told me that I must be here." I wasn't marked wrong, but these seem to me to be different meanings. I though that since debía is in the imperfect, that the time that I was supposed to be here must be past. Am I wrong?
This one is very hard for me to translate.
"Must," in English, seems to refer to present or future. "You must [at this exact moment]" or "You must [in the future at the appropriate time]"
I have a hard time thinking of "must" in the past tense. Normally I would instead say "you should have." For example, "You should have come" or "you should have eaten more vegetables."
On the other hand, when I think of the English version of debería, it seems more like "ought to have" to me.
"She told me that I ought to have been here."
In conclusion, "She told me that I should have been here" seems like the most natural English translation of the given Spanish sentence.
Unless I am forgetting something, maybe English does not distinguish between giving a reprimand for something missed ("should have") and clarifying that the missed thing was an order ("must"). English is both messy and passive aggressive, after all.
"Deber" means obligation. It hasn't the meaning of should, it has the meaning of must.
"Debería" is what we use to say something that you should do, but you don't have to as an obligation.
"Deber de" is used to say something you think:
"Debe de estar cocinando": means that he/she should be cooking, he/she is probably cooking in this moment. "Debe estar cocinando": means that he/she must be cooking because it's a obligation.
We don't use "de" depending of the country, this preposition make sentences have a different meaning.
Anyways, a lot of Spanish people use it wrongly, so all of this is usually in our text books from highschool. Probably a spanish person would understand you if you don't know how to use "de", but it could be used wrongly.
I hope I explained well, I'm from Spain so my English could be a bit poor, but my Spanish is really good haha