"My mother had felt nothing."

Translation:Mi madre no había sentido nada.

4 years ago

51 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/trojax1
trojax1
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Can someone explain why there are two negatives in this setence to make it one negative?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dehaneysteven

Spanish doesn't really recognise the double negative like English. Just because. Usually, if you don't have a double negative, you're doing it wrong.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jiana30
Jiana30
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Actually I don't believe the "no" is necessary. If it's omitted the sentence should still be correct. Here is a helpful link about negation: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/neg.htm

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/malcontex

That link actually shows that "no" is necessary, or at least standard. In every example on that page where there is a negative (like "nada") after the verb, there is also a negative ("no") before the verb. In English we make it mathematical. In Spanish it's all about consistency.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jiana30
Jiana30
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Hmm...maybe you're right when it comes to sentences structured that way. I looked at examples like "Él nunca come"and figured "no" is not always needed but it looks like it's inclusion is dependent upon whether the negative word comes before or after the verb. Thanks for pointing that out!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marchgo

Thank you!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IrisDurfee

I am a high school English teacher. Many of my native Spanish speakers regularly use double negatives in English....even the excellent students. Do you think your explanation above could be the reason they do that, Steven?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grace780329

Hi Iris!. I am a native Spanish speaker. The literal translation of this sentence is "mi madre había sentido nada". In Spanish when I say "había sentido" it refers that there is something to felt (in positive). It should have something else, "había sentido que: sadness, happyness, pain, etc." or, what is she feeling? She is feeling something, but if she does not feel nothing we have to deny it, then: "no había"..... It is like: Either there is or there is not. In other case, f.e: "Él nunca come" (vegetables or bread or nothing or whatever,etc) or "Él no come nunca" (whatever, as the before sentence), both sentences are well but in the second I must put "no" to deny the action of "comer". I hope you understand my recent English and the way we think when we make a sentence. Greetings:)

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/theRealRabbit

Don't think of it as a "double negative". Much like an entire sentence can have feminine conjugation, so can a Spanish negative. English language logic is more linear, where word order matters more, whereas meaning in Spanish is more reliant on conjugations.

The entire Spanish sentence is in the negative, instead of just one no/not/nothing modifying the rest of the sentence, and English making much less sense than Spanish if you mess with the arrangement of word order.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sadiemolock
sadiemolock
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I was thinking the same thing. English is all about simply saying no to double negatives

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/The.Other.Caleb

Or to put it another way: "In English, double negatives are a no-no." ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aterix

I believe that double negatives in spanish rather provide emphasis.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jledetjr

I thought felt was a reflexive verb, "sentirse". So the sentence should translate to "mi madre no se había sentido nada". Can anyone explain?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

She did not feel herself. She perceived nothing. Sentir can be reflexive or non-reflexive. The reflexive version is to feel bad, feel sorry, etc.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marianne.w4

Then it could be both

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
alezzzix
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If what you feel is nothing, then it can't be reflexive.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877
Jeffrey855877
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Why? If she were feeling nothing inside, whatever was going on around her, shouldn't it be reflexive?

If she were numb from cold, then she would feel nothing in a non-reflexive way.

Seems like the reflexive form is more appropriate, because people usually feel external input.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
alezzzix
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You're looking at it the wrong way, this is not about inner feeling versus outer feeling, you have to look at it from a grammar point of view. Sentir is transitive and just like any other transitive verb it needs a direct object, sentirse is its pronominal form, by adding the pronoun se the transitivity of the verb disappears, meaning, the direct object is no longer required, for example:

  • Sintió angustia / Se sintió angustiada.
  • Sintió felicidad / Se sintió feliz.
  • Sintió tristeza / Se sintió triste.

Did you notice the difference? Angustia, felicidad, and tristeza are all nouns (direct objects) and angustiada, feliz, and triste are adjectives (no direct objects).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/homefire

I thought I had sentir/sentirse figured out, but this threw me. It always seemed to me that sentir was only used when the person was feeling (touching) a surface or something, while feeling (bad or hurt or whatever) inside was reflexive. But this sentence certainly seems to be an inside sort of feeling. I'm confused.

I found a simple explanation here. Maybe this will help someone else, too. http://learnenglishspanishonline.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/7285979 "How" you feel is reflexive, and "What" you feel is "not" reflexive, so I guess in this case, "nothing" is the what! :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

Nothing is the direct object, yes. Look the the post of alezzzix below.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjcthorpe

I thought the reflexive "sentirse" was meant to differentiate physically feeling something ( ie a rough surface) "sentir" from the emotional feeling ( i.e. feeling blue, feeling bad, etc.) and did not mean "touching /feeling herself"....so I would have thought this sentence was referring to her feeling an emotion ( sentirse) rather than feeling an object ( sentir) and so "se" should be in there somewhere...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KyleBotten
KyleBotten
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The answer here is related to the fact english has many more words than Spanish.

Many instances where we have 2, 3, 4+ words for slightly different things, Spanish just uses one and rely's on context to get the different things across.

Nada = anything, and nothing.

In this case nada is used as anything (in Spanish), while we use our word nothing (in English).

"Mi madre no había sentido nada" to a Spanish speaker is more like "my mother hadn't felt anything."

Although it we initially want to translate this as "my mother hadn't felt nothing" this is not what Spanish speakers are comprehending.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mandyturtle

yes the double negative confuses me as well

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/s_helmer

Guess, we just have to get used to it. Asked a native speaker - It is necessary and correct.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/djusen
djusen
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This is not double negative. It's just a grammatical rule that requires repeated labelling the negativeness, much like the agreement of adjective and noun endings. You shouldn't need plural for color and size but that's just the way the language works.

Now, if you still think English is more "scientific" in recognizing double negatives, let me tell you something. In English, double negative is NOT the same as positive. "I'm not nobody" carries a slightly different meaning than "I'm somebody." In some context you actually need to use double negative to convey a meaning that cannot be expressed by a simple positive sentence. That's not very "scientific" if you ask me. Furthermore, the use of "any" in some negations doesn't make sense either. "Any" means unspecified, so "I don't see anything" should mean "I see some specific things" instead of "I see nothing at all". Only constructed languages like Ithkuil is that logical.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adamsrow

Same question as Daniel . . . is the double negative necessary? Would it NOT make sense without it?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fluharty13

Like some of the others here, I get that Spanish regularly has double (even triple or quadruple) negatives, but I don't understand why it is compulsory in this sentence. Do you just HAVE to negate the verb to have another negative in the sentence?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anwar719

Double negative

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tyador
tyador
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Gets me every time. Not nothing = nothing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CTCDaddy
CTCDaddy
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Why is this not translated "My mother had not felt anything"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcy65brown
marcy65brown
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It can be. Be sure to report it as an error if they told you that translation was wrong.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AshleyBlackwood

Okay. Confused. I, too, assumed it was reflexive. One can feel nothing tactile (an object) or one can feel nothing emotionally. My hunch is that if we were speaking emotionally we would use 'tener sentimientos'. Is this correct or can sentir be used for emotions as well?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
alezzzix
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"Sentir" is transitive so it is used with direct objects, if you add the reflexive clitic "sentirse" then it can be used with adverbs and adjectives. Take a look at the following examples:

  • Siento tristeza (I feel sadness) / Me siento triste (I feel sad)
  • Siento felicidad (I feel happiness) / Me siento feliz (I feel happy)

This Duo sentence uses "sentir" because there's a direct object, "nothing".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JefferyGif

I'm still having a hard time accepting the fact that double negatives are allowed in Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dphairis

I agree with jledetjr. Sentirse is reflexive.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Amodia
Amodia
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You don't use the person a at the start of a sentence?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
alezzzix
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The personal a is used when the person/pet is the object of the sentence, regardless of the position it's in. In this case mi madre is the subject.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Amodia
Amodia
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Ahhh. I see, thank you :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stanl78265

If "no" is left out, does it mean my mother did feel nothing? Would the sentence just be nonsense to a native Spanish speaking person? I may be over analyzing this.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JustinRG
JustinRGPlus
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I felt brave and went with "No había sentido nada a mi madre". Got it wrong, which I can believe, though I'm not entirely sure why that is. Anyone care to help me out?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcy65brown
marcy65brown
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"My mother" is the subject and can't have the "a" in front of her. Usually an untranslated "a" seems tomake a person a direct (or indirect) object.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mariixxx

but is 'mi madre no había sentido nada' also good?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grace780329

Hola mariixxx, hablo español y "mi madre no había sentido nada" está perfecta. Very good. Greetings

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garyspector1

the word no does not belong in the sentence !

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grace780329

Hi garyspector1!. I am a native Spanish speaker. The literal translation of this sentence is "mi madre había sentido nada". In Spanish when I say "había sentido" it refers that there is something to felt (in positive). It should have something else, "había sentido que: sadness, happyness, pain, etc." or, what is she feeling? She is feeling something, but if she does not feel nothing we have to deny it, then: "no había"..... It is like: Either there is or there is not. In other case, f.e: "Él nunca come" (vegetables or bread or nothing or whatever,etc) or "Él no come nunca" (whatever, as the before sentence), both sentences are well but in the second I must put "no" to deny the action of "comer". I hope you understand my recent English and the way we think when we make a sentence. Greetings:)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rowith
rowith
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According to the discussions here, If the sentence was "My mother had not felt well.", the translation would be "Mi madre no se había sentido bien." ¿Verdad?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grace780329

Hi rowith! Sí, tu traducción está bien, es correcta. Yes, the translation is correct for your sentence. Greetings:)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garyspector1

there should not be a no in front habia.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tim294818

The no is not needed. PERIOD!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/john581308

Double negatives are confusing, especially those who think literally

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Super_Duo_Lingo
Super_Duo_Lingo
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"Mi madre no había sentido algo." If we have one negation "no" do we need to add another negation "nada"?

4 months ago
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