This is in no way a mistake, and it merits study.
I can read authentic novels in Spanish (four so far). One of the most confusing things about reading in Spanish has been all the "mystery" pronouns--like this one. Don't just pass it over as noise. It's important to be able to figure these out. This kind of sentence appears all the time. It is very important to be able to handle it.
Spanish leaves out things that English puts in and vice versa. This one means "I am not going to prevent you from doing it." Spanish doesn't need to say "do," but we've already seen that all over the place; English drops "do" into sentences right and left. That shouldn't really bother people at this point.
Observe that the object of impedir is the action, not the person. The "lo" isn't a person or thing at all. It's a verb phrase. (That is, it refers to whatever action the person had planned.) Spanish verbs that mean the same as English verbs but have different objects are another source of confusion, and we've seen several of those by now as well. (Gustar, anyone?)
Finally, notice that the indirect object "te" is the "victim" of impedir. English almost never uses an indirect object to report that the main action hurt someone; it only shows up when someone benefits. (E.g. I gave him the book.) Spanish makes much more extensive use of indirect objects to reflect all sorts of vague connections with the action. The closest we come to this in English is when we say "he died on me."
Those three things together make this sentence rather alien to an English speaker. That doesn't make it wrong--it just makes it hard.
A very good explanation!
The object pronoun ''lo'' is invariable and has no equivalent in English. It's used to replace a clause, predicate noun or an adjective which can be masculine or feminine. In this sentence ''lo'' is replacing ''from doing it''.
I think the problem most people are struggling with is that there is so little context making it so difficult if not impossible to determine what clause, predicate noun or adjective ''lo'' translates to. When one sees ''lo'' an automatic conclusion is drawn that is a DO pronoun. There are additional special uses of the Object pronouns. This is one of them.
Here are some examples with additional context: '¿'Son profesora Marta y Sara? (Are Marto and Sara teachers?) Lo fueron. Ahora son abogadas.'' (They were. Now they are lawyers.). Given the additional context we know that ''lo'' is replacing professoras..
¿Marie Elena es simpática? (Is Maria Elena nice?) Sí, lo es. (Yes, she is ) Here lo replaces simpatíca.
Hope this helps! For sure this a a pretty advanced grammar topic.
'¿'Son profesoras Marta y Sara? (Are Marto and Sara teachers?) Lo fueron. Ahora son abogadas.'' (They were. Now they are lawyers.). Given the additional context we know that ''lo'' is replacing professoras..
Shouldn't it be "las"? "Profesoras" is feminine/plural and explicit in this case, it doesn't seem natural/correct to use "lo" in this context to me, but I'm not sure.
Also as a side note I feel like it's more natural to use the imperfect "eran" in this context rather than "fueron", but again I'm not 100% sure.
If you want a sentence in English that more closely resembles the structure of this, try: "I'm not going to deny it to you." In English, "prevent" is not ditransitive like "give", but "deny" is. (In fact, given that ditransitive "deny" also correctly organizes the "victim" as the indirect object and the action as the direct object, I'd suggest that it's actually the best translation for "impedir".)
We're all here to learn. :-) Here's a reference to support my analysis of the sentence.
"As was stated in the previous section, lo is the direct object pronoun corresponding to ello (but lo can also mean 'him' or 'it' referring to masculine nouns; see Chapter 12). Lo as a neuter pronoun does not refer to any specific noun, but to an idea, action, situation, clause or sentence that has no gender."
"A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish: Fifth Edition" (Butt and Benjamin, 2011, section 7.4 Lo as a neuter pronoun)
I think the simplest sentence that illustrates both uses is "Lo creo." It can either mean "I believe him" or "I believe what was just said."
Now consider the following dialogue:
A. Quiero estudiar in España, Papá. B. No te lo voy a impedir.
Of course this means:
A. I want to study in Spain, Dad. B. I'm not going to get in your way.
Perhaps it's possible to construct a context for the second sentence in which lo refers to a simple noun, but I can't think of one. Not without dropping te. I would be interested to see what you propose though.
In fact point 12) of the grammar you cited states exactly what I was referring to: the pronoun always refers to something (not necessarily a noun - although it is called a pronount :) ) - and in the case of "impedir" it cannot but refer to an "action"
I perfectly agree that the closest literal translation is "I am not going to prevent you from doing it." - where the "lo" stands for "from doing (or whatever) it"
This construction is common to all Romance languages.
In your "counter" example, "lo" actually does refer to the action/idea implied by the phrase: quiero estudiar en España = quiero ir(me) a estudiar a España.
A. Voglio studiare in Spagna. B. Non te lo impedirò. [Italiano] - lo = pronoun particle A. Je veux étudier en Espagne. B. Je ne vais pas te l'empêcher. [Français] - le = pronoun particle
This can be clearly understood if one decides not to use that pronoun particle: in that case one must use the concept it stands for (of course in the DL exercise it was not allowed):
A. Quiero estudiar en España. B. No te voy a impedir de estudiar en España/de ir(te) a estudiar a España.
Simply, in Spanish (and in the other Romance languages) it is easier to express it than in English just through a particle pronoun, which can stand for something very complex (not just a noun), but nevertheless determined - it is not a "verb phrase" - not a pronominal verb, like "arrepentirse" for example, where the pronoun particle does not have any real syntactic function.
There are plenty of cases in English where an entire action gets "noun-ified" and treated as an object, and then referred to later by a pronoun. This doesn't seem like something that distinguishes the two languages. (In fact, I can't think of a language that doesn't have this kind of abstraction layer.)
It is also possible just the infinitive, without anything else: te impediré que estudies o te impediré estudiar I think your conversation is very interesting. I know how to use those pronouns but I had not realized the mystery involved ;D In English the mystery is in phrasal verbs.
Phrase: noun 1. Grammar. a) "a sequence of two or more words arranged in a grammatical construction and acting as a unit in a sentence". Pronoun.noun. Grammar. "Any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases".
I agree with a lot of the above comments, but I think that when writing the English translation of the Spanish here, it should accept "I am not going to prevent you from DOING it."
For sure, things are said differently in Spanish, however to offer an English translation that doesn't convey the sense of what it means in Spanish isn't teaching Spanish.
It's like translating someone saying "I am going to prevent you from stealing my food" into "I am going to prevent you from my food"...
No, the "lo" needn't be rendered in English. This sentence carries the same meaning as "I'm not going to stop you" in English, but since the Spanish verb requires "te" as an indirect object, a direct object is also required. You can think of the "lo" as a placeholder, required in Spanish but not in English.
To GregH, your explanation was brilliant. You must be a great linguist and I thank you for posting that explanation. I will sound like an idiot, (although technically I am not), but in a nutshell what I learned from your first post was: when l don't know what to do with "do" in Spanish and I don't know what to do with "lo" in English, maybe I should at least sometimes consider a form of substitution. I am obviously not a linguist and I do so much appreciate your use of common parlance and not linguistic jargon which most of us on this discussion cannot follow. I am just trying to learn conversational Spanish
I said "I'm not going to stop you from doing it," and was counted wrong and corrected with "I am not going to stop you from it."
I know the verb "hacer" isn't actually anywhere in the Spanish translation, but I think Duolingo's English correction is a bit awkward, while mine conveys then same meaning, but more naturally.
So, I'm reporting it.
Dec 3, 2015
"I will not stop you" was accepted by DL (April 2015).
It seems to me, as others have said, that this sentence makes the most sense when thought of as a response to someone's prior declaration to do something.
I like your translations, although I don't know if DL will be creative enough to accept "be my guest".
I am not sure this is even a real Spanish sentence in that I doubt that it is something a person would say if his or her native language were Spanish. Using a bit of logic from Latin may be helpful. Words that are indirect objects in Latin are in the dative case with tranlation options being "to" or "for". "Te" seems to me to be an indirect object in the above sentence. Using logic the sentence might mean something like.." I am not going to prevent it for you." ?? I may be grasping at straws which I admit. In any case "LO" in the sentence needs to be defined as some particular form of speech with some particular function and with some particular and understandable meaning. It seems to me to be a direct object which further inclines me to the view that "te" is an indirect object !!!!????
I see people downgraded you for your explanation but as I see it, you are correct. The translation is vague and therefore confusing but most of the translations given above are correct. They are just saying the same thing in different ways. Literally, "I am not going to prevent it for you." is the best translation. However, "I am not going to prevent you from doing it." is also valid because the action "lo" is not being prevented, hindered, impeded, denied, etc. So, let`s replace "lo" with an action to make it clearer. I will replace "lo" with the action "teaching him". That gives us the following translations... I am not going to prevent teaching him for you. Or, to make it sound better, I am not going to prevent you teaching him. And, in the second example, I am not going to prevent you from teaching him. Sound pretty similar, right? Another thing that makes it confusing is dropping the "lo" completely in the translation "I am not going to prevent you." which I think is unfortunate and should not even be offered. Finally, what makes this even more confusing is duoLingo is not willing to accept answers that should be accepted and I have reported it.
Because I'm not them I don't know but: Perhaps they haven't entered the variety of answers; perhaps it lacks fluidity in English. Having come back to this sentence after a while, "I put I am not going to stop you from doing it." - which it didn't accept, though Greg's answer and another person's indicate it should be - for which I reported.
But your literal translation is not correct English. If you read through the lively discussion this exercise has sparked, you will see more on why your particular construction would not be acceptable, either as an answer to this exercise or as a proper translation to English.
The main bone of contention appears to be whether the English translation should include something to represent the "lo" or leave it implied. This happens to be one of those instances where there is no ideal translation between common English and common Spanish usages. It's important to separate the limitations of Duo from the ambiguities of translation.
Personally, I prefer the translations that simply drop any reference to "lo," but you are free to feel otherwise. Note that the only way to force "it" into an English translation will necessitate the addition of words that do not appear in the Spanish sentence. One could argue that adding words is just as wrong as omitting them.