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  5. "No te lo voy a impedir."

"No te lo voy a impedir."

Translation:I am not going to prevent you from it.

February 12, 2013



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.


Thank you for opening up some real light on this confusing word and its uses. Here is a Lingo.


Thank you, very interesting too!


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".)


Yes. With a little bit of flexibility, I can get some sense of what, "I'm not going to prevent you it" might mean. And it's ok that I don't know what the it is.


I actually have an extensive background in linguistics (formal study in college, teaching it in a community setting), and I'd never seen "ditransitive" before. What a useful word!


The assumption that it is a "verb phrase" is incorrect. "Lo" here is an actual pronoun that is referring to something (an action) both speakers know about.


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.)


You seem to have different definitions for "pronoun" and "phrase" than those that linguists use. I'm not going to debate them with you.

However, I will point out that "impedir de" is bad Spanish. You have to use "impedir que" + subjunctive.


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".


That sounds right but what do I know. Still it deserves a lingot. Don't spend it all in one place.


Fantastic explanation, ¡gracias!


Thank you very much and have a lingot.


That being said, I wonder why my answer "I am not going to prevent you from doing it." was rejected.


That is a great explanation, and it makes sense. However, I translated the sentence as "I am not going to prevent you from doing it" (your suggestion for the meaning of the sentence), and Duolingo rejected it.


Gracias Greg. I will copy and paste this into my notes.


Great explanation! Easy to follow, in a confusing subject!! symbolic thanks: a lingot!


Hola GregHullender. Muchas gracias por la muy útil explicación.


This is the beset explanation of mystery pronouns that I have ever come across


Can you recommend any of those novels for immediate level reading?


Thank you, very interesting!


You want to say this?... No te LO voy a impedir = No te voy a impedir hacer-LO.


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"...


But here, in English I don't see any reference with lo. That's why I put "it" in my answer.


I feel "I will not keep you from it" would also be a valid translation here.


You're right. The answer is accepted for "I am not going to prevent you from it".


"i will not prevent you from it" - surely the same?


I typed "I am not going to stop you from it.", and that was accepted.


I don't understand how DL can post a translation that doesn't include the "from it." The "lo" I think needs to be translated. You nailed it.


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.


Most Duolingo Spanish to English translations do not allow for ignoring words, even though the English sometimes sounds more natural without them.


"I am not going to prevent you" What does that even mean?

"Prevent you" from what?


If you think of impedir as "to impede," it makes more sense. "I am not going to stand in your way" or "I am not going to stop you,"--all more "English" than "I am not going to impede you."


Try: I'm not going to deny it to you.


so many things: I am going to eat this whole turkey. Ok, I am not going to prevent you. A million other ideas could be possibilities.


what does the "lo" in the sentence mean?


It's a direct object as far as I can see. Presumably it's not visible in the English translation. One prevents another ---from something---

Though the English doesn't mention this it's still the implication.


I put "I am not going to stop you from doing it". Wouldn't this be an English equivalent or do you need "hacer" for that to work/


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 like "although technichally I am not" :)

(literally understood)


I liked "your use of common parlance."


I put "I am not going to prevent you from doing it" and it was marked incorrect by weirdly literal and often unnatural duolingo


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


This thread is a good example of how the occasional clumsy example provided by DL prompts a thoughtful and instructive discussion. Thanks to all (DL + community) for making this a good place to learn a language.


I wont get in your way of doing it.


In English people are not the direct object of "prevent" without an adverb phrase following For that reason I translated this as "hinder", since people CAN hinder one another without need of a modifying phrase following.


Hinder was one of the supplied definitions of impedir, but this was not accepted although the English makes perfect sense. What's up?


I agree -- Report it ;)

EDIT: Now accepted: I'm not going to hinder you


What does this sentence actually mean?!

  • 2711

"Be my guest", I'd guess. Or, "I won't stop you."


"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".


! Seems like the best translation!


why is "lo" in there?


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.


People did not downgrade you. If you click on up or down, it takes you down on 01/03/15


With the great explanation provided by the first poster, I wonder why his translation is still not accepted


'i will not stop you doing it' Was wrong.. a bit harsh so i reorted it. hope I was correct.


I put " am not going to keep you from doing it"and it was marked incorrect. ?


Yes, this is maddening. In English, the 'it' if stated would be an indirect object if it meant 'from doing it' , which it seems to do. But obviously, Spanish treats this particular 'it' as a direct object.


After reading the explanations here I don't understand why DU didn't accept the sentence : "I am not going to prevent it from you"

Why is it wrong?


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.


the reference to the object (lo = it) disappears??


Yes, Duolingo, "you're missing a word". LOL


What kind of sentence is this?


Not a right translation: "No te lo voy a impedir", which means "I am not going to preven (lo) it (te) to you ". The "lo", the direct object of the sentence, is missing in the Duolingo translation.


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.


"I am not going to prevent it (lo) to you (a tí, te)" is the right translation


Just because it's the literal translation, does not mean that it's the right translation.


"I am not going to impede you from it" NOT accepted 12 Oct 2017

Come on Duo: "Impede" - impedir : they both mean "to stop/impede"


Is "I won't keep you from it" an acceptable translation? Not accepted if so


Last time impeding was used it meant keep


14 July 2018 - impedir means to keep from/prevent, not just keep



It's the English translation I take issue with. We might say "I am going to prevent [or keep, or stop] you from doing it," but the given translation is not grammatical or ever used.

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