"He tenido que oír a mi padre tocar la flauta por años."

Translation:I have had to listen to my father play the flute for years.

February 3, 2013



In Spanish, is the implication of this sentence that the speaker does not like listening to his or her father playing? In British English, at least, it implies a degree of obligation and a lack of enthusiasm!

May 11, 2013


I think "tener que" implies a sort of obligation, but I don't have the experience to know that for a fact.

September 11, 2013


I hadn't thought to ask this question. This is a great question, and now I'm curious for an answer.

August 21, 2013


it would be like that you are in your house right? and then your father in the next room is playing the flute, in that case you are forced to listen him because both of you are under the same roof, it's not like your father is forcing you to listening him (sorry for muy english i'm still learning)

October 14, 2013


Your English is pretty good! Thanks for the answer, it's not easy to describe a language concept and it's harder in a language that isn't your mother tongue.You did well, gracias!

October 14, 2013


Duo's answer is very literal. However, in real life, in American use, we would just use the simple past even in circumstances when in Spanish "he tenido/tuve que/tenía que" was used. Of course, there is a difference: 'I've had to' implies you are still in that situation (living with your father) whereas 'had to' implies you've moved out. I did report it; we'll see if the owls agree. ;)

February 18, 2014


In the U.S. that sort of annoyace could be implied by context or intonation, but so could the sense that it was a pleasure to have heard him. No grammatical clues to it.

April 24, 2014


The father has been playing the flute for years! Continuously ? Kinda like a musical filibuster? Lo siento!!

September 26, 2013


It kind of makes more sense as "For years, I have had to listen to my father play the flute." He hasn't been playing it continuously, no.

October 29, 2013


Just curious, but if the English translation is "listen", why "oír" used and not "escuchar"?

May 13, 2013


Both words can mean "to listen." Strictly, escuchar is used for more active listening, when you're giving your attention to something, and oír is used for more passive listening (such as would be the case in this example sentence).

In practice though, usage varies by country and I think they are often used interchangeably.

July 20, 2013



January 16, 2014


But then the English verb should be "hear", not "listen", should it not?

January 28, 2014


Yes, in Spanish-English dictionaries you'll often see oir translated as "hear" and escuchar as "listen." But Spanish will use oir in places where English would use "listen" like in this sentence. As another example, in English we'd normally say "Oh my gosh I had to listen to my neighbor's music all night long" even though you're not actively listening to it, you're just hearing it, being forced to hear it.

February 1, 2014


"oir" and "escuchar" both are the same but we use more "escuchar" than "oir"

October 14, 2013


I agree with you.

July 13, 2013


Also, compare "ver la televisión," "to watch television" (not "to see [the] television").

December 17, 2013


Why is not "For years I have had to listen...." correct? I think it sounds better in English!

May 2, 2013


If it's not accepted as correct, and you believe it should be correct (and in this case I definitely agree with you), just click the "Report a problem" button; that way the staff can fix it quickly:)

May 10, 2013


I agree that i have listened is a positive act, but i have had to is a negative act

September 2, 2013


Why is TOCAR not conjugated to TOCA in order to match "mi padre(my father)"? I know many times the 2nd verb is in the infinitive, but the above sentence has 2 different people doing 2different actions. Why am i wrong and PLEASE explain. Thanks.

December 7, 2013


What might also help you make sense of it is to think about the sentence in english. "Mi padre TOCA la flauta" would translate to "my father playS the flute," whereas in the example we say in english "I have had to listen to my father play the flute," so you can see a difference. We don't conjugate it in english either ;)

December 7, 2013


eshewan, ¡Excelente!

December 7, 2013


very helpful thanks

January 8, 2014


Learn, this is a hard question to explain. If you want to conjugate "tocar", you would need the equivalent of "... listen to my father who is playing, who was playing, who has played..." ..."oir a mi padre que tocaba la flauta...". Otherwise it's two infinitives in a row.

December 7, 2013


great answer thanks

January 8, 2014


Dad is obviously a lousy musician.

September 26, 2013


I believe that a better translation is "For years I have had to listen to my father playing the flute." or perhaps "I have had to listen for years to my father playing the flute" "For years" modifies "to listen" rather than playing. I think putting "for years' at the end of the sentence may be considered a "misplaced modifier." !?

November 8, 2013


Sounds natural the way it is given, but after having read your post SamuelOrr, I would love it if a grammarian were to post a rely.

May 10, 2014


I totally agree. 'playing' is definitely better English IMHO, but DL marks it as wrong.

May 18, 2018


Is the QUE necessary? TENER QUE means "have to." In the above sentence tener is followed by the infinitive OIR, which means "to hear." What is the general rule regarding Tener que? Is it always necessary to have them together when saying "have to"...regardless of what verb/word fllows it?

August 28, 2013


Yes, if you "have to" do something, then it has to be "tener que" regardless of what comes after it. And be careful translating Spanish infinitives to English. The "to" doesn't always come with it.

August 28, 2013


Thank you hunter18288.

August 28, 2013


You can see some more of these linked verbs here: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/VRBSPREP.HTM

August 28, 2013


At least it wasn't the bagpipe!

March 11, 2014


Pobre chico...

June 1, 2014


Shouldn't it be to my father's playing? Just like to my (rather than me) playing.

July 3, 2014


No me importa la flauta miserable.

January 7, 2019


playing not accepted - reported

January 14, 2019


'play flute' instead of 'play the flute'; does that sound acceptable?

January 22, 2019


why not hear instead of listen

February 2, 2019


why not playing for play surely both are correct

February 2, 2019


I cannot say that "tocar" can mean playing but certainly in english the sentence is fully acceptable using either "play" or "playing".

March 4, 2019
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