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Can someone please explain why "hace poco" means recently? Forgive my ignorance, but I'm reading it as "he makes little". Thoroughly confused about the literal translation of hacer. If I knew what it meant in Spanish, I might be able to phrase it in my English-thinking mind to make sense. Otherwise I am lost.
One literal translation might be, "ago little". "little ago", some time in the past, but just a little bit of that time. That's how I break down idioms in an attempt to literalize it. I find it gives me insight on other idioms and the culture of Latin America presented in the etomology of words and idioms.
It is more or less like english having the same word for many meanings. Try and grasp the meaning of the sentence by looking at the bits of Spanish words only. If you start translating every word into english, then you are surely gonna be in for a rough time (especially idioms).
Hacer is a verb that can be used in many different ways. In this case it is referring to time. An example sentence is: "Fui a su casa hace dos semanas." = I went to his house two weeks ago. In this case "hace poco" could be translated as "since a little" or recently.
http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/using_hacer.htm This will help with some of the other uses
My understanding is that if you are using a personal pronoun for the direct object (él/ella/usted/etc.), you also NEED the direct object pronoun in front of the verb. Hence "lo vi a él".
However if it's just an ordinary noun or the name of someone, or there's a preposition involved, then the "lo" (or whatever) should be dropped. e.g. "vi a mi amigo", "vi a Juan".
Yes, but it's really weird. Idioms like "every rose has its thorn" and "good fences make good neighbors"
But the Spanish versions of these are completely different, so everyone is confused, and each one has 100's of comments that are mostly just "it should be like this not like this, this is stupid"
It would be great if Duo had a useful, day-to-day idiom section, like "querer decir" means "to mean to say" or "hace años" means " years ago" - but they don't.
This helped me understand it a lot. http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/180200/should-i-use-le-or-lo
Elena, You were taught incorrecty (doubtful) or like many of us forgot something from your university Spanish class. This sentence demands a direct object pronoun just like the equivalent English sentence does: I saw HIM a while ago. The Spanish direct object pronouns are not as gender specific as English pronouns. Without the a él this could mean I saw it recently. or I saw you recently.
Didn't = did not. There is no "no" or "not" or negative in that sentence.
I saw him recently.
To add the negative, with the word "lately/recently" you would have to use the past perfect:
I HAVE NOT seen him lately/recently.
"I did not see him lately" is not correct in English.
I thought I clarify this at the top of the discussion threat as I saw a few people asking the same question;
"If you are already in a conversation and you both know that you are talking about a specific person you can simply say "lo vi hace poco". The "a el" is just used to point out the gender, nothing more!"
I personally find it quite annoying that duolingo does this with all the object pronouns as it is simply not a natural thing to say.
A Spanish speaker might reply, why are two words needed in English to say, "I am", when in Spanish you can simply say "Soy"? The languages are different. There are plenty of explanations of what "hace poco" means on this page, but if you wanted a single word in Spanish that means "recently", it is recientemente.
If you are wondering like I was, yes you can say "Lo vi hace poco." https://www.duolingo.com/comment/131295 The object that directly receives the action of the verb is called the direct object. Let's say it is Juan. "Lo" is used here because the pronoun replaces the name of the direct object "him", Juan. http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/dopro1.htm The subject pronoun "él" is used to replace the name, Juan, who is the object of the proposition "a"—"at Juan". http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/oppro.htm This is confusing because the word "him" is being used redundantly to replace the object, Juan. So let's just use "Juan" instead of the substitute "him" to break it down. "Lo vi"—"Juan I saw" or in correct English "I saw Juan." "Vi a él"—"I saw Juan." Now let's put them together "Lo vi a él"—"Juan is to whom I looked at Juan." Such redundancy hardly seems necessary. If asked whether you have seen Juan, it seems you could reply "Lo vi hace poco" and it would be understood that you're referring to "him" and not "it". "Lo vi a él" appears to be correct Spanish, but I hate the redundancy so I wanted to post on behalf of efficient speaking to say it is acceptable to drop "a él" any time "him" may be inferred from context. "Cuando lo vi, la semana anterior a su partida, aunque lleno de años, no había casi ninguna falla en su mente." http://www.linguee.com/english-spanish/search?source=autoquery=%22lo+vi%22+%22i+saw+him%22