I feel like there should be a warning when it's an idiom and when you're supposed to be more literal.
I agree - I'd hate to translate literally (and correctly) only to lose a heart because it's an idiom.
agreed - i wrote the business is the business, which is ok in english, only to get whacked.
I think "negocios" is being used as an uncountable Spanish noun, which means that the article is used . Likewise, in translation to English, the article isn't used because it is an uncountable noun.
Los negocios son los negocios is not very use, negocio es negocio o negocios son negocios are more comun.
How do you when to translate the "los" as "the" and when to just drop it from the English translation?
Referring to one or more specific thing(s), it remains the same:
- la casa = the house
- los edificios = the buildings
Referring to a concept, it loses the definite article:
- la inteligencia = intelligence
- los edificios = buildings
Referring to a mass noun, it remains articleless:
- arena = sand
- agua = water
In this case, "los negocios" in the phrase refers to the concept, not some specific companies, so it becomes simply "business".
You would usually keep the "los". It's just that this example is an idiom, and so it would actually be more idiomatic to say "el negocio es el negocio" this would then translate to spoken English as "business is business".
"Los negocios" refers to the abstract concept of business, to "business in general." Spanish tends to use the definite article (el, los, etc.) with abstract concepts or general terms.
In addition, if a noun is the subject, use the article. "Los gatos son bonitos ("Cats are pretty." 'La comida es necesaria" "Food is necessary" "Los diccionarios son necesarios para aprender español."
"Necesitamos firmar un contrato oficial antes de hacer negocios con ustedes."
¿Qué tal le van los negocios de momento?
"Hoy tengo una comida de negocios.
"Los negocios thailandeses contemporáneos son acusados de piratería tan amenudo como las compañías chinas."
"El negocio", or "Mi negocio" refers to a specific business.
'Este negocio te conducirá al éxito."
"Tenemos 11 empleados en nuestro negocio."
"Está costando mucho más en negocios perdidos." ( It is costing far more in lost business.)
Como Warren Buffett diría "Los negocios son nuestro negocio." (Warren Buffett es el tercer hombre más rico en los EE.UU.)
I totally agree with you! How are we supposed to know when to drop the "los"?
You could try looking it up.
Google is a great place to start. Try typing this into Google: "how to use definite article in Spanish".
I found over 100,000 answers.
In common everyday spanish you are more likely to hear "el negocio es negocio"
Here's a site that lists "Los negocios son los negocios" as a Spanish idiom. Under the "Contextos" tab, it has the phrase in a quote from an 1890 Spanish novel.
Then "Los negocios son los negocios" is the title for a 1938 film based on a 1903 French play "Les affaires sont les affaires": http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_negocios_son_los_negocios. Idioms are often chosen as film titles ...
Well that one was a flip of the coin and I chose the literal. Bad call.
If we have to guess whether we're translating a literal phrase or an idiom, it's not teaching us a lot, and DL is not consistent in its expectations either.
I think there's a case here for putting idioms in their own lesson.