Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/loughk

When to start a sentence with "A"

In this lesson, the following sentence was presented: "A ellos no les gustan los caballos." In English: They don't like horses." Why does the sentence start with "A?" Had I not seen the sentence previously in the lesson, I would have put "Ellos no les gustan los caballos." Any insights here? When do I start a sentence with "A?" Thanks!!

1
6 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Rossb1964

A ellos no les gustan los caballos = (to them) the horses are not pleasing. This sounds funny to us, but it's the grammatical structure in Spanish. If you want to shorten it, you can take off A ellos and just have: No les gustan los caballos. But you MUST have the indirect object LES. You will want to get a grammar book or website to learn the indirect object pronouns.

6
Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/selin
selin
  • 15
  • 12
  • 11

This has to do with the conjugation of the verb 'gustar'.

Gustar indeed means 'to like', however, it is not a grammatical equivalent. Let me try to clarify:

Me gustan los caballos. - The meaning is, 'I like horses'. Yet, grammatically speaking, it is more like 'Horses are pleasant to me.' Notice how it is ME gustan and not 'yo gusta'?

This is a shortcoming of the system here, unfortunately, I'm having troubles learning French verbs myself, there isn't a list that can clarify.

This should help: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/gustar.htm

3
Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rossb1964

A ellos no les gustan los caballos = (to them) the horses are not pleasing. This sounds funny to us, but it's the grammatical structure in Spanish. If you want to shorten it, you can take off A ellos and just have: No les gustan los caballos. But you MUST have the indirect object LES. You will want to get a grammar book or website to learn the indirect object pronouns.

2
Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mievenair
mievenair
  • 25
  • 1195

The problem you raised here is just a specific occurence of a general rule in spanish. It has to do with the rules of "complemento indirecto", it seems to me. See therefor: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complemento_indirecto. Being a beginner in Spanish, I might be wrong. If so please let me know.

1
Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/loughk

Thanks everyone!

0
Reply6 years ago