"Sabemos dónde vive su familia."
Translation:We know where his family lives.
Haha, heard this right after "They can get more money." Sounds like we have a hostage situation over here!
Could you also say "Sabemos donde su familia vive."? Or does the object HAVE to come after the verb?
Nope, that is yoda-speak. Spanish phrase construction requires the object follow the verb.
I'm not sure I understand this explanation. In the clause "su familia vive", isn't "su familia" the subject?
I think what you are asking is - In the lesson phrase, Sabemos dónde vive su familia. and the alternative from dylancmiller isn't su familia the subject? The answer is no, it is the object of the verb phrase in the dependent clause. The sentence breaks down like this:
(Nosotros) is the subject identified by the verb Sabemos which is in itself a complete thought ("we know") but leads to the question "we know what?" -- donde vive su familia which is a direct object clause identifying what we know.
Mostly I'm confused by why dylancmiller's construction is wrong, based on your explanation that the object follows the verb. It seems that in the alternative, that rule is still followed.
The whole clause "donde vive su familia" is the object of the sentence, and it follows the verb "sabemos" in both the original and the alternative. So it doesn't seem to contradict the rule you gave. And within the direct object clause itself, it seems like "su familia" is the subject, so there seems no problem with it preceding "vive", either.
Would another way of explaining why "vive" go before "su familia" be that the standard form of a question beginning with "donde" generally puts the verb next to the interrogative?
I believe now the reason you are confused is that you are parsing it incorrectly. The noun of the object clause is the implicit location evoked by donde.
To make this clear, what you are arguing is akin to claiming that the subject of the sentence "Your family's house is big" is a big family.
Lets take the sentence apart in English. "We know where his family lives." We is the subject of the sentence, they are the one doing the verb, which is "knowing something." "Where" is an adverb that breaks up the subject and object clauses here. "His family lives" is the object clause, made up of the object (not the subject of the sentence, which is us) "his family" and a verb. So when they say in Spanish that the sentence construction requires the object following the verb, they mean the object (his family) needs to follow the verb in the object clause (lives), not the verb of the sentence (to know, though it also should do that). So "we know where lives his family" (object follows verb of object clause)
Wow, that's a threat if ever I heard one!
Since there is no specificity, I'd argue that a better translation would be "We know where THE family lives". Of course that's not what it says, so I wouldn't expect DL to agree, but if I were telling someone else what was said, I'd say it that way.