"Su hermana tiene muchas faldas."
Translation:Your sister has a lot of skirts.
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Would it cause any confusion in daily conversations if we say
su and mean "his" instead of "her" or "your", or vice versa?
I keep imagining reading a letter that said "you know Tom, his brother is married to your sister"....or your brother is married to his sister, or his brother is married to his sister....
Good point! Maybe they consider all the possibilities and that's why Spanish love stories are so... well, lovely! :-D
Su does not specify the gender, thus "there" should be accepted. Furthermore, If you are talking to somebody, YOUR sister would not be HER sister. That would be
I think too in some regions saying "tu hermana" is too direct and therefore can be insulting? I know you can't just say "tu madre" without causing some violence (unless you are very obviously new to Spanish, and they hopefully noticed). My guess would extend that to sisters and other family members too.
I completely agree with you. All native English speakers who I believe are accustomed to using a single pronoun "you/your" for pretty much everyone wouldn't even realise how offending they might sound.
My native language has a similar concept of being formal/familiar and hence it's easier for me to understand what a big mistake saying "tu madre" could be. Your tone could even make it sound like you're just stopping short of using an expletive.
My advice: stick to using the "formal" pronouns everywhere till you attain basic proficiency and don't fumble any more. Of course, people would be nice and excuse you but it would create an unnecessary air of awkwardness around you and who wants that!
I am still not clear why it can not be "his/her"sister as "su" can be translated as "his/her/your".
In English, we often hear people say "their" for his or her when it is unknown, and I do it myself sometimes, but it is not correct. "The student should turn in his or her paper..." is the correct way to say it.