It seems to me that Spanish likes to be redundant. I would have used "A mi abuelo" without the "le". Is that right also?
Gotta have the "le." The "A mi abuela" is the part that explains who or what "le" is. Avoid redundancy (which Spanish does like) by leaving off the "a" part if it is not needed. "Me gusta" is enough, since you know that "me" means me, so I don't say "A mi me gusta." But I cannot just say "A mi gusta."
Tengo una pregunta...I understand that the "le" is referring to the indirect object (mi abuelo), but I'm not sure when you actually need to use an object pronoun like "le". At first I thought you needed to use a lo/la/le etc. for all indirect/direct objects, but then I came across sentences like "Él ayuda a su madre" (http://www.duolingo.com/comment/245505) where "su madre" is the direct object but there's no la before ayuda. Or even with "Leo un libro," "un libro" is the direct object, but there's no lo before leo. So then I was thinking you only use the object pronouns lo/la/le etc. for objects that are pronouns (él, ella, etc.) and not nouns because all of those kinds of sentences I've seen always have the object pronoun words. But then I come across a few sentences like this where the object is a regular noun "mi abuelo" but the "le" is necessary. Is it just that there are a few verbs that are exceptions and need the object pronouns whether or not the object is a pronoun or a noun while most only need them for pronouns? Could someone please help me with the rules for when to use and when not to use the object pronouns? --- ¡Muchas gracias! :)
Yes, there is a list of Spanish verbs that take the indirect object pronoun. Google "verbs like gustar" for a full explanation. Me gusta does not literally mean "I like", rather it means "it is pleasing to me". The sentence above is literally translated as "To my grandfather, to him it is pleasing", a bit of a mouthful I agree, but once you start to think of it like that it makes sense - and that's what the "a" at the beginning is for, it means "to".
That was an excellent explanation, I feel like I have just had a light bulb moment , as I have been struggling with that part of the language for quite a while Muchas Gracias
I completely forgot about that. I couldn't figure out why the sentence started with "a."
To add to the confusion, there is also a redundant pronoun used when the DIRECT object of a sentence precedes the verb. To use a duolingo example from elsewhere on the site: "Esta bicicleta la usa mi hermano" - "my brother uses this bike" or can be translated with the passive construction "This bike is used by my brother". When the DIRECT appears after the verb, the redundant pronoun is not use as in: "mi hermano usa esta bicicleta"
the "a" confused me here - mi abuelo le gusta leer - seems pretty straightforward, even after reading the other comments I'm not sure why the "a" is included.
Ooops. ;) The 'a' in "A mi abuelo le gusta leer" is not the personal 'a' It is the prepositional 'a', meaning 'to.' 'Mi abuela' is an INdirect object and 'reading is pleasing "to him." The personal 'a' is for use before direct objects that are people or beloved animals. Gustar and its relatives take INdirect objects.
Oh oops, thanks for the correction. I didn't know there was a difference. Next time I'll have to remember to say "I think" before trying to answer something. :D
Rspreng - I think we need a like a checklist to help at this stage. It is very confusing for everyone.
I translated this "My grandfather likes to read to me". Where am I wrong on this?
mi is not me here it is my, so the person is "mi abuelo" and the "a" refers to him (the personal pronoun required in Spanish but not English). I think if you want to say "My grandfather reads to me" you would need "a yo" in there somewhere, but I'm not sure exactly where. I put the same as you, but it's wrong because we have used the "mi" twice in the translation.
"My grandfather likes to read" - Could I say "Mi abuelo gusta leer"?
No, you always need the pronoun with gusta: me gusta, le gusta, nos gusta, les gusta, etc
I translated "My grandfather enjoys reading"... why is that incorrect? It means the same to me as "my grandfather likes to read."
Like and enjoy are slightly different and there is a direct translation for each in Spanish too. Although this sentence means much the same either way, duolingo is trying to teach us which word is which (gustar for like and disfrutar for enjoy).
It's a guess, but I'd say it's "A él le gusta leer a mi abuelo" - literal translation is: "it pleases him to read to my grandfather".