"The boy has to try to eat."
Translation:El niño tiene que tratar de comer.
"tratar de + inf verb" means "to try to + verb"
notice that tratar has many different meanings
plain "tratar" could mean giving medical attention, "tratar como" means "to be treated like", then you have "tratar" to ask what something is about like "de que se trata?" = "what is it about?"
i recommend you reading this http://spanish.about.com/od/usingparticularverbs/a/tratar.htm
Thank you very much, ese311. That article you provided was fantastic. However, I do have a question for you or anyone else that might be of assistance. For sometime now, I've struggled to understand the difference between intentar and tratar de infinitivo. They mean the same, more or less, correct? Is there any clear explication how I can differentiate between the two? Would it be safe to say if I'm trying to do something + a verb, I would use tratar de ? I'm having difficulties differentiating between the two in conversation. Thanks everyone!
I don't think there is any real logic to it. We get our sense of what prepositions combine with which verbs to create expressions, so if the Spanish is similar to the English we think it makes sense, but I don't think a lot of English combinations actually have any intrinsic sense to them either. Ultimately you just have to learn the combinations. With time what is correct will sound "right" to you without even having to think about it.
One word of caution here. Speaking to a Spanish native, he told me that 'tratar' as in 'to try' as opposed to 'to treat' isn't commonly used in Spain and is more a Latin America expression. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it's certainly something that I keep in mind as I am trying to learn continental Spanish.
Well of course here you have tiene que so tratar appears in the infinitive. But all the verbs you listed are considered modal verbs in Spanish and do not require a preposition before the infinitive. But tratar de is a set expression for to to try to like ir a is to be going to or tener que for to have to. It's easiest to learn it that way because intentar, another verb for to try, doesn't take a preposition. El niño tiene que intentar comer. But tratar has a wider range of meanings which may explain the need to formulate a set expression. But you will find many verbs will take either a or de when placed before an infinitive. You just have to learn the combinations.
Sorry if it sounded like sarcasm, but it was a way of showing that some things doesn't have an explanation when we are learning a language. Like in English, some verbs in Spanish are followed by certain prepositions. Why do we say "tratar de comer" with "de", but "intentar comer" without "de"? As far as I know, there isn't a reason. It just sounds better that way. I'm sorry, but you will have to learn this by heart.
Thanks. That's a far better answer - rather than simply answering the first question with another question.
BTW One of the reasons we have the preposition 'to' in 'try to eat' is because 'try' is not an auxiliary verbs -- unlike 'can' which is, and therefore more readily allows for the construction 'can eat.'
However, my reason for asking the initial question was that since it is possible to force 'saber' to become an auxiliary verb like 'poder', 'haber' etc (AND without adding a preposition!) there may be times when that might apply with other verbs like 'tratar'. Now I see that is not the case.
I thought it did accept it, but I might be wrong, or it might be just fluking. But you do have to remember that intentar does NOT use a preposition before the infinitive. So you have either
El niño tiene que tratar de comer Or
Él niño tiene que intentar comer.
I don't understand when the correct word in English isn't even a choice when I click on the Spanish word for a clue. For example, I used "tiene" for "has" and I was wrong, it said I should have used "debe". NOW, the translation above uses "tiene". WHY?! They are frustrating a beginner.
Deber indicates a necessity or an obligation to do something, so it can be translated as to have to. In fact, in other Romance languages like French and Italian on Duo the related words devoir and dovere are almost exclusively translated as such in the present tense. But Spanish also has the expression tener que which means to have to and obviously is a lot more similar to our expression. But if you didn't include the que, it doesn't make any sense in Spanish. The major problem is that Duo can't devise a better algorithm for determining which correct answer to show the user when an error is made. I am assuming it is quite complex. It seems to me that they try to provide a totally different word or expression if you make an error on the one they accept. I know that, for example, if you mistakenly use the feminine article with a masculine noun the will often come up with a less common feminine noun rather than simply correcting your article. My only advice is to ALWAYS come in here to the discussion if you got the exercise wrong, except if it was a careless error that you catch yourself. Check the translation shown above the discussion, which is generally the one preferred by Duo, and read the discussion if you have a question. You should also be aware that Duo will occasionally mark a correct answer wrong. It doesn't happen very often often to any one user unless there is an error which was made when editing the program, but it probably happens almost every day to someone doing the 100s of thousands or millions of exercises done on Duo in all the languages they teach. But those are random events. But most importantly never attempt to learn any foreign language without access to a GOOD bilingual dictionary, not simply a translator. For Spanish I highly recommend Spanishdict.com which is a dictionary, a verb conjugater and also has grammar lessons. I haven't been able to find a resource nearly as good for the other languages I am studying.
Yes intentar should be acceptable. But intentar combines with an infinitive without the intervening de. So the options are El niño tiene que tratar de comer and El niño tiene que intentar comer.
But in the spirit of no two words being exactly synonymous, my instinct tells me a native speaker might be more inclined to use tratar de than intentar here. I say that because tratar de is also used to mean to deal with. Eating is something that you don't generally speak about having to try to do, unless there is some sort of problem or challenge with eating in the current situation. So if the implication is that the boy has to deal with the issue he is having in eating, tratar de might be the more natural choice. But I don't believe that choice would rise to the level of even noticing that someone said intentar instead of tratar de.