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"Esto puede matar a un hombre."

Translation:This can kill a man.

4 years ago

78 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ph516503
ph516503
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at last, a useful sentence :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogo13222

Remember, Strax. No grenades, laser guns, or acid. ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ph516503
ph516503
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You're no fun.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SqueezeboxSarah

You say that now, but later on I'll be saying, "Sure would be nice if we had some grenades, doncha think?"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/The.Other.Caleb

No disintegrations. -Vader

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MimiCats78

doctor?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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A doctor can't be an esto

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arcrouch
arcrouch
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¡Esto es un cuchillo!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Huysan
Huysan
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Amor? ;-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tedsmoker

matrimonio.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DeanG6
DeanG6
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Keeping the tree golden

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/m.tastic
m.tastic
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Truth.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BeedleBoo

Imposible en mi opinion

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joeman2003
Joeman2003
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Jajajaja

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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"I killed a man with this thumb," Horst..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Baconquistador

Exactly my thoughts Remy!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox
rockerbox
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You win the animated movie side of the internet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zekecoma

No, mujeres pueden matar un hombre. Sabemos eso. ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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John Wyndham - Day Of The Triffids?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lluckylluke

Ahora, ese es un gran libro!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GaelBraxton

Can you enlarge your avatar so we can see it. It looks like 3 pregnant women.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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You can do that Gael.
Right Click (Windows) or Ctrl Click (Apple) on the little round picture above.
From the menu that appears, click on Open Link in New Tab.
In the new tab Right Click or Ctrl Click on the bigger round picture.
From that menu click on Inspect Element (or something similar).
You should see a line of code like this: img src="//duolingo-images.s3.amazonaws.com/avatars/14445171/5JQORWKQLL/xlarge"
(that one is yours).
Click on this line of code and you'll see the original rectangular picture (like the one you supplied).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ph516503
ph516503
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Urgh. Really wish I hadn't done that. It likes like Gazza and 5 bellies took a fat mate to benidorm.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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In fact it looks to me like lluckylluke's avatar represents three breweries! :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JimHazlitt

Why the a?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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This is a prepositional a that is used with matar to indicate what is being killed, this is not a personal a.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HelenWende1

I'm not following you. How does 'a' indicate what is being killed? Are you saying that 'a' is always to be used with the verb 'matar' (some verbs are just constructed so they are always used with 'a' or 'de')

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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This may be one of those distinctions of no difference, but technically (according to the RAE Grammar), the purpose of the a following matar is a preposition signalling the objective case (here is the thing being killed). Since matar is used with things that can be killed, in practice it behaves largely like a personal a and is generally explained as one.

The problem is that a phrase like para entrar en el club, tienes que matar una persona cualquiera is grammatically correct without the a, and cuando consiguen matar a un árbol is also acceptable for some with the a.

Most of this usage will depend upon the region and subject, but if you consider it like a personal a you will always be in the right.

If you are interested, there is a whole subfield of Spanish linguists who try to explain Differential Object Marking (why some things don't get the a) from whom I stole this explanation:

septentrio.uit.no/index.php/borealis/article/download/2603/2630

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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I have a somewhat different question, Alphonso, which you may be able to answer. I do understand the difference between esto and este/esta, but I have generally assumed that esto is basically used for a more abstract This. So my question is in real life with all its context, how likely would someone be to use the neutral form. Would it have to imply that the object was not recognized and therefore was not associated with a gendered noun or is a scenario not an object per se (like tripping and falling into something dangerous) or would just not having previously named the known object as la espada, la pistola, or el cuchillo be enough to allow the use of the neuter form.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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There is no hard rule, instead deploying the neuter is a matter of usage. If the referent noun is not already in the sentence to lend its gender, or in such close proximity to the phrase that it is functionally a part of it, then that triggers the neuter. Mostly the neuter is the default for objects and abstractions: since they have no essential gender it is weird to refer to them as gender when they aren't in the sentence. Similarly it sounds weird to refer to something nominally gendered (el edificio) as neuter later in the same sentence, so it is gendered when in proximity (este).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gina253727

Lol

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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If something can be killed, it is animate (animal, person, beast, or something in between like the Loch Ness monster), so I understand the argument that the A could be a "personal a". But jindr004's comments (above and below) are much more cogent that my silly opinion.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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You are neither right nor wrong here. The reason I can't give you a straight answer is that there really is no such thing as the "personal a" in the sense that there are set grammatical rules for usage. I tried to suggest this with the mention of the RAE, but since we know each other and I know that you are working on the grammar rules, I will give it to you straight and it should clear up a lot of confusion.

There is no "personal a".

The "personal a" is an invention of Spanish teachers to help learners get past the apparent anomaly of a preposition in an unexpected location. Spanish speakers do not reference through English usage, and so that a after the noun just naturally directs the action as any preposition would. For that reason Spanish grammars never refer to anything like a "personal a" (or a personal), they do however have a class of "preposiciones sin significado léxico" that these apparent extra words fall under.

The "personal a" is just one of dozens of little rules that exist only to guide English speakers in Spanish grammar. The problem is that at some point everyone who gets more than a basic exposure quickly learns that these rules have exceptions and irregularities that are apparently arbitrary. These exceptions only exist because these rules encourage learners to continue filtering native Spanish grammar through English, which is like using a statistical program to write a novel: you can do it, but it takes a lot more effort.

Admittedly most of the rules are actually useful in a general sense (in the same way that the rule "i before e except after c" is kind of useful). They are, however, often misunderstood (the "abstract nouns get the definite article" rule is a classic), or are occasionally more complicated than just learning the usage (the personal a is very much one of those). The reaction of most learners is to shrug and just skip over the irregularities, learning to speak fluently by dropping the crutch when it fails them and ignoring the rule as they gain a sense of the real usage. That is the ideal path. Then there are those who try to make the rule work, despite the obvious problems. This explains maybe 90% of the "personal a" discussion here on duo.

You may have noticed that when I am feeling particularly optimistic about someone's response (or especially Quixotic) I will try and explain why this dogmatism about these "rules" is a problem. I have become pretty good at explaining away the "abstract noun" issue, but I fear the slap fight that will follow in the wake of exposing the personal a as a fraud. For some people, the rules are the language (to see this in action see my comments to hennievk1 on this thread).

I really hope this helps you, and sorry about tus vacaciones matando a tu racha de duolingo :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/porquepuedo
porquepuedo
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It's called the 'personal a'. You use it when you're talking about a person or a personalized animal.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JimHazlitt

But isn't it supposed to be for people or animals that are 'close' to you? That is, are related or have an emotional connection?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/porquepuedo
porquepuedo
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I do think that should be the case but apparently humans are infinitely important, no matter what their relation to you. :P That's just the way it is, really. So, even if you're talking about your sister's dog-carer's second cousin's pen pal's pet chicken's gravestone creator's mother's physiotherapist's friend's uncle... the personal a is still there ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shawy89

I get that, but... this seems to me like it's not talking about a specific man. This sounds like it means THIS (whatever it is) is capable of killing someone (an unspecified person) so wouldn't you be able to leave out the "personal a"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HelenWende1

That's not what I read here: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/persa.htm This site says that if it is an indefinite person rather than a specific one then you don't use 'a'.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JimHazlitt

Okay! Thanks.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnilHabib
AnilHabib
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I am assuming close does not mean physical proximity. In which case, even in class, a teacher would say "De X a Y" where Y is a classmate who you likely don't know. Now, this is a general, hypothetical example. I, unfortunately, cannot offer anything more specific.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mortisimago
mortisimago
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think of it as a "directional" "a", so there is no ambiguity about who is killing and what is being killed

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shc327

I'm so glad i learned "tengo un abogado" in a previous module

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Metlieb
Metlieb
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Kaaaaaaaarl...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shc327

That's awesome

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Baconquistador

Llamas with hats!!!!!!!! YAAAASSSSS

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brian348233

hahahaha

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son
E.T.s_Son
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You know whats cool? the fact that words across many languages have such similarities such as with this verd: [Matar]

The verb [Matar] has such a phonetic similarity to the English word [Martyr] and basically has the same definition

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gmartins

I have a really hard time hearing some words in speech like "a un" here, anyone have tips of picking them out? All I hear is bleh hombre

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BoredWithDuoNow

I think it's talking about a McDonald's large meal.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aterix

But not a woman?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lawrencertb

This could kill a man?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/--shaun--

That would be "esto podía matar a un hombre". Can ≠ could (in English or Spanish)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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Great point. In English, we use "can" and "could" casually in conversation. For example, Can you go to the store for me? Could you go to the store for me? They strictly mean different things.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhannah_07

"Aquí hay algo que no puede entender, cómo podría apenas matar a un hombre."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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Actuando tipo de loco yo soy otro local

Niños de la calle me pagaran por mi voz....?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Silent-Hill

Marriage

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SusannaEDavis420

This Spanish course?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mouthofrandom

Why not "murder"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sonalimudunuri

...yes because this sentence will come up in everyday conversation casually which is why i need to know this... (i'm just bitter cause i got this wrong)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ms.Rainiere
Ms.Rainiere
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"I once killed a man in his sleep with his moustache and a grape" Who remembers this?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BennyScriv
BennyScriv
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The slow version of this audio sounds like "makar" but sounds fine at normal speed

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheAwesomeClair

So can I.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElMassimo1

And now this is my other arm...

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DmitriVyac

holds up my mixtape

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rory36

I've had a bad tequila experience before too.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TonvanderValk
TonvanderValk
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Esto puede matar a un hombre Esto puede matar una araña I understand from the discussion it's best just to learn all exceptions instead of trying to formulate a rule for the use of "a"

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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The personal a may be hard for students to remember to use, but it is not something that has a complex rule or a lot of exceptions. Basically if the direct object of a sentence is a person you always use the personal a. This particular sentence might appear to belong to the category of an indefinite person which does not require the personal a, but this sentence does create some sort of personal connection with the unknown man. It doesn't take long to get an understanding of the difference once you examine the use. As for the spider, the personal a is always used for one's own pets and generally used for dogs and cats in general because we recognize them as part of our community in some way. But people seldom have such feelings toward spiders. I haven't seen many children's shows in Spanish, but I would assume that if Esto puede matar una araña were part of a Spanish language presentation of a story like Charlotte's Web said by one of the fsrm animals, that it would be phrased as Esto puede matar a una araña, just as they surely would say Esto puede matar a Charlotte.

https://studyspanish.com/grammar/lessons/persa

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BeedleBoo

exactamente!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Strodi
Strodi
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Why the personal 'a'? The sentence is not about a specific man as far as i understand

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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JimHazlitt asked the same question two years ago. Look up the page. jindr provided an especially detailed answer that will surprise you.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Strodi
Strodi
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Found it :) great answer indeed. Muchas gracias!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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No problem.
I've just checked again myself. My directions could have been more accurate - I hadn't realised that jindr had made so many comments.

It surprised me that jindr said "There is no "personal a". I'm still thinking about it --- and not only because killing someone seems very personal indeed! (sick joke :-) )

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eittek
eittek
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An American's reply: No it can't! Only PEOPLE kill people!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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I am certainly not one of those people. But the interesting thing is that those that do, say that almost exclusively about guns. You won't hear that about poison, bombs, negligently manufacturered cars and good, or anything that isn't covered in the second amendment. Ironically it appears that the only thing that DOESN'T kill people potentially is guns.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WarrenEsch
WarrenEsch
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I know the answer! :D .... STUPIDITY!! :D

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Celesar

Correct answer: A woman's nagging

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joeman2003
Joeman2003
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Jajaja

3 years ago