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"Este coche lo usa mi padre."

Translation:This car is used by my father.

5 years ago

76 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/GregHullender
GregHullender
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A lot of people seem confused by this. There is a simple rule, but it's buried in the answers elsewhere in the thread.

Whenever you put the direct object ahead of the verb, you must also use a "redundant" clitic.

I assume everyone is comfortable with:

Mi padre usa este coche "My father uses this car."

Likewise

Mi padre lo usa. "My father uses it."

But Spanish often likes to put the subject after the verb, unless you are emphasizing the subject. (In English we just raise our voice.)

Lo usa mi padre. "My father uses it."

If you really want to emphasize the car, you can put it (the direct object) first, but in that case you must keep lo.

Este coche lo usa mi padre. "My father uses this car."

This isn't really a passive. A real passive would look like this:

Este coche es usado por mi padre. "This car is used by my father."

Spanish doesn't use this sort of passive very much, though (especially not in the present tense); if you're going to state the subject and object anyway, I think most speakers would use the form in the exercise, so Duoligo's translation into the English passive isn't really a bad choice.

A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish: Fifth Edition (Butt and Benjamin, 2011, sections 11.16.1 "Redundancy when object precedes verb" and 28 "The Passive")

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/denamyte
denamyte
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Thanks. Very useful and clear explanation it was)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizsrbeny

Holy crap! Well this is fascinating (and way above my pay grade). Thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SusannaEDavis420

Thank you for the very clear explanation! I think it would be good to drill this type of sentence structure with exercises. Do you know if there are any exercises on the Internet that we could use for this? I'm going to try to write out some of my own sentences and practice this. I understand it, but to actually remember and use this grammar won't be easy!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raskak
raskak
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Thank you SOOO much! It really becomes clearer now! I am going to save your reply for the future reference.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Atokirina

I wish everything was explained that clearly! Muchas gracias!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConfusedSquid

Gracia!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arthurworst
arthurworst
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OK, this is interesting, but couldn't the sentence be theoretically translated as, "this car uses my father"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VJ-K
VJ-K
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Not exactly. The usage of direct object pronoun "lo" before the verb may indicate that the subject most likely follows the verb.
In your case, albeit it doesn't make much sense, "this car" is the subject and "my father" is the direct object. Since the direct object is a person, the personal 'a' has to be used. Therefore, "this car uses my father" may be translated as: "este coche lo usa a mi padre".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Exordium
Exordium
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"lo" (masc.) is used because "el coche" is masculine, right? or is it just a default masculine dummy pronoun that doesn't have to agree with the direct object's gender? like if we were talking about a feminine object like "la carta" or "la manzana", would a similar sentence be:

La carta la lee mi padre. ? Una manzana la come mi padre. ?

I hope I'm not being confusing!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/plschoon

Thanks so much for this clear answer!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BryceSpringfield
BryceSpringfield
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A great explanation. I'd give you a bunch of lingots if I were on desktop. Thank you!

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/irene121212

Wow ..Thanks so much for your extremely well explained reply .

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scottann

Perhaps, but why confuse us and not say: My father uses this car. Especially when Duolingo is usually so literal...

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adolfogranados
adolfogranados
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En latinoamérica y probablemente en España se usan en forma indistinta dependiendo del contexto las dos expresiones "mi padre usa este carro" y "este carro (coche en España) lo usa mi padre"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jmiker54
jmiker54
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It accepts, My father uses this car.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GregHouse989

I AGREE!!! Why not a more literal translation at least when it is appropriate English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/learnTACO32

why cant I say "mi padre usa este coche"? Im fairly certain Ive seen other sentences like this. Maybe a diiferent verb or subject, but same sentence structure.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wardo1234

I'm not positive, but I think that would be correct if you added a "lo" to refer to the car: "Mi padre lo usa el coche". Can someone confirm that?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth0

Because "este coche" is a direct object that is a noun, the "lo" isn't used in that kind of construction. It would just be "Mi padre usa este coche." = My father uses this car. But the reason that doesn't work for this sentence is because the English sentence is passive..."is used by." And I'm guessing that is how the "lo usa" functions when you have the object first and the subject last. In other words: [object] lo/la usar [subject] = [object] is used by [subject]

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JobeyinError

I would love to have this question answered too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adolfogranados
adolfogranados
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Mi padre usa el coche (el carro ) es lo usual, si le agregas un "lo" además de que no es gramaticalmente correcto, suena extraño.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/loonce

why "is used"? Is the passive voice that easy to express?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

This is a bit deceptive, IMO. Literally it says "This car, it, my father uses." and Duo translates it passively. It is not a true passive (which is not used nearly as often in Spanish as in English). Only my opinion, but I am pretty sure about it.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adolfogranados
adolfogranados
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Es un punto de vista personal. La forma pasiva en idioma español puede ser correcta pero en la redacción moderna más directa y pragmática orientada a la transmisión efectiva de la idea buscando la comprensión, he visto y he experimentado cada vez más con la voz activa.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suewoods5946

The audio did not work at all on this example. Does this keep happening to anyone else? Each time it happens, I lose one of my hearts. Does anyone know why this keep happening? I have reported it, but I just wanted to know if it happens to anyone else.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

Suewood - yes occasionally this happens to me and I always get back the standard response. It doesn't help but I think I could have given more details about my operating system, my browser, versions, devices etc. It doesn't happen often & sometimes I just reboot or sign on to another wifi (tablet/laptop) and its okay again. Hope this helps.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suewoods5946

It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough that it is irritating. I usually just take losing the heart and keep going. In fact, today, when I finished one segment, I continued on and it worked just fine. I don't usually reboot or do anything else. Thanks for your answer.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bajaca
bajaca
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Same with me

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Grytr
Grytr
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Yes it happens to me too and yes I too lose a heart. I have reported it via the support option. It happens infrequently though; perhaps once or twice per day. I am currently using a PC running Google Chrome Version 33.0.1750.29 under Windows 7.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkofSky

Why not 'a mi padre'?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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Because that would actually swap the subject with the object, indicating that the car uses my father: "Este coche (lo) usa a mi padre" (the «lo» is optional in this sentence, unlike in the original one without the «a»).

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkofSky

Are you saying that when the direct object is a person the "lo" becomes optional?

I´m having a hard time knowing what the subject, direct object and indirect object is in a sentence, especially because they can come in different orders.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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Imagine there is a company called El Motor (stylized el motor) which makes use of old cars to recycle them. Now, how would you say "that old car is used by el motor" in Spanish? Choose between these two sentences the one you think it's correct and then I'll tell you below:

  • Ese viejo coche lo usa el motor.
  • Ese viejo coche usa el motor.

Can you see the semantic difference between the two? The first one -- the one with the lo -- is what you'll need to say "that old car is used by el motor". The one without the lo means something totally different: "that old car uses the engine".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkofSky

yes but how do we know that the lo refers to "ese viejo coche" and not "el motor"?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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You could start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • ¿Quién usa ese viejo coche? / Who uses that old car?
  • ¿Quién lo usa? / Who uses it?

Possible answers (el motor here refers to the fictional company):

  • El motor usa ese viejo coche.
  • Ese viejo coche lo usa el motor.
  • Ese viejo coche es usado por el motor. (Passive voice, see below.)

Another way to think about it is, as the last answer suggests, thinking of the structure subject + direct object + transitive verb + object as the passive voice: subject + verb to be + past participle + por + object.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkofSky

I cannot reply to your other message. I do not understand what you are saying.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

Markofsky -reading this page you can see myself and others have struggled. Nekosuki has made an excellent effort. Can you use direct and indirect object pronouns in other sentences? If so, leave this sentence and come back later.

If the entire "object pronouns" is causing you problems I suggest you look on the internet for other perspectives on this issue.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ashi97

I think that because we were told that the "object pronoun" comes before, I can guess that this "lo" refers the father. Am I right?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth0

No, the "lo" is referring to the object...este coche. If "mi padre" was the object, it would need to have the personal "a" before it, but since it doesn't, we know that "mi padre" has to be the subject. This sentence has a special order where the object comes first and the subject comes after the verb. Carnaedy posted a great link to a place that describes this very thing: http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/a/word-order-in-spanish.htm Look at the seventh row in the table.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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I would think it needs the proposition, "de." Hope some native speaker answers..."Este coche lo usa de mi padre." ??

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatricioJiang

Here is the method I use to break this down. Subject = "padre", verb = "usa", direct object = "coche". My father (it) uses this car. The position that "lo" takes is the direct object position, and can only be a direct object. Therefore, it must represent either the car, or the father. The car receive the passive action, therefore, "lo", must be a direct object pronoun representing the car.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Huysan
Huysan
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"Este coche lo america mi padre"? ;-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth0

hehe :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryan.mcca1

I don't get why duolingo has to put words that was my my list of words that I trouble with, and then decide to throw it out of the window. The words that they put were plural then they put the singular version up. So if anyone can clarify do the plurals mean the same thing as their singular counterparts?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AudreyMuth

Muchas gracias, really helped

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/splattered.meat

Este coche lo usa mi novia por su casa porque ella es muy pobre.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dd1Fbr

this is the car my father uses, that was the correction for my answer. isn't used past tense? I don't get it.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

Trying to dicpher this sentence to understand better. I think we have

ESTE Determiner, COCHE subject, LO neuter definite article, USA object acting as a noun, MI PADRE indirect object.

Have I got this right? I think I will learn better if I can break these down but not my strong suit.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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«Este coche» – subject

«lo» – masculine direct-object pronoun

«usa» – verb (third person singular of the present tense of «usar»)

«mi padre» – I'm not sure about this one, but I know it couldn't be an indirect object as those must always start with a preposition.

Be careful not to mix up the different uses of «lo», here's a good overview of all of them: http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/a/lo.htm

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carnaedy
CarnaedyPlus
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Wrong.

"Este coche lo" - object, "usa" - verb, "mi padre" - subject.

This is a construction that Spanish people use to reverse the sentence from SVO to OVS for reasons of emphasis. There is no equivalent construction in English, hence usually you just switch to passive voice to have a similar effect when translating.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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Thanks for the correction. I suspected this could be the case, but it kept sounding weird to me so I went to look for confirmation on Wikipedia, About.com, and other trusted sources and since I couldn't find anything I just went with the much more natural, subject-verb-object approach.

Could you please post a link to an article talking about this kind of construction and what their parts of speech are? Doesn't matter whether it's in Spanish or English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carnaedy
CarnaedyPlus
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I suppose http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/a/word-order-in-spanish.htm is what you are looking for, namely, the seventh row of the huge table.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth0

Wow, that's great! ¡Muchas gracias!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Neptune

That's the clearest response yet. Many thanks!! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dorisann

agreed. We have to use the direct object "lo" because the direct object "el coche" is stated first in the sentence. It is as if we would say in English "This car, my father uses it". "It" referring again to "this car".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

I felt mi padre was an indirect object because of the translation adding 'by'. The link explaining the different uses for 'lo' is very helpful and will take some time to absorb. I will watch for your comments regarding parts of speech because you have a good grasp. That certainly helps when learning a new language. You explain quite well. Thanks for your help.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nekosuki
Nekosuki
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Thank you for the compliment, I don't think I have as good a grasp as I wish I had though, otherwise I would have known what «mi padre» is.

Since you (are of the few who) seem to like the art of breaking sentences down into parts of speech, I thought you should know this is known as análisis sintáctico (syntactic analysis) in Spanish Linguistics. It's not generally taught in language courses as it isn't really essential to know how to speak, read or write in Spanish, but in my opinion it's a very useful way to understand how Spanish (or any language for that matter) works.

Regarding what you've said about how you thought «mi padre» was indirect object because of the translation having 'by', you should bear in my mind that that translation doesn't exactly translate to "Este coche lo usa mi padre", but to "Este coche es usado por mi padre". These two sentences are semantically equivalent, yet syntactically they are very different. The latter is written in what is called «voz pasiva» (passive voice). Its «voz activa» would then be "Mi padre usa este coche", which is, again, semantically the same as the others, yet its syntactic analysis would be entirely different.

Once again About.com has the best guides on language-related topics: http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/p/passive_voice.htm. Funnily enough, they use a very similar example there to the sentence discussed here: "Mi padre manejará el coche" / "El coche será manejado por mi padre".

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

Thanks again. I have saved this page because I will reread several times.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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The English translation is in the passive voice; however, i don't think that the Spanish sentence is in the passive voice. The subject of the Spanish sentence is 'mi padre.' In Spanish the subject doesn't have to come at the beginning of a sentence. When a sentence begins with the object, more emphasis is placed on it. I think that's why the passive voice was used for the English translation; It gives more emphasis on 'this car.'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Allinuse
Allinuse
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Mi padre usa este carro - Is that correct as well?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

I believe the parts of speech are ok. I wasn't familiar with carro so I checked to see if it a common term for car. I did find a some examples but most referred to other type of vehicles wagon, stroller, railway car, delivery van so not sure if that is best choice. May be geographically preferred?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duolearner12345

Why is it not lo usa por mi padre?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

I thought I understood this better but I'm back reviewing. Why isn't this usado rather than "usa"? So we have "lo usa" = 'is used by' . As pointed out "lo' is a direct object pronoun therefore it represents 'padre'. So is it an expression? Or 'is used by' implied?

This doesn't seem to be a passive sentence based on a recent article I read that said as long as the agent (I assume subject) isn't identified it could be passive, otherwise it is not.

If it was passive I understand now that it could be identified by the verb 'ser' followed by a past participle OR 'se' would take the place of the subject followed by a conjugated verb. Kinda looks like the first option. Now I don't know.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Johngt44
Johngt44
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You have gone wrong again rmc. I have followed this discussion with interest as not clear to me either. Your are correct to say 'lo' is a DO pronoun but the next bit -'therefore it represents padre' reveals your misunderstsnding. Padre is the SUBJECT he uses the car , no question, the form of the verb 3rd person, present indicative, active voice, tells us that, lo as you say is a DO (masc cos Spanish has genders and coche is masc) namely "it" and represents the thing dad uses - the car. You are too focused on words (and their order - syntax) not overall meaning (semantics). As someone else said, the sentence is still in the active voice (dad uses it) but the word order emphasises the object (comes first in sentence) so an English rendering to add this extra information could be to use passive voice. An alternative might be to write My father uses THIS CAR! lo is a clarifier making sure we understand dad is the subject. Of course only a fool would think car uses man in this particular case but grammatically the lo makes it clear.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jmiker54
jmiker54
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Yes "This Car" is the DO. "My father uses this car" is accepted. The sentence as it is written in spanish does seem a bit odd. And it is in the active voice. "The car is used", "Este coche es usado" or "Se usa este coche" are in the passive voice.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aelfwyne

So..... now we are learning PASSIVE VOICE?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jmiker54
jmiker54
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This sentence is not passive voice.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aelfwyne

The English version is definitely passive voice. "is used by" is passive.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jmiker54
jmiker54
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Yes after review I think you are right the English sentence "This car is used by my father" is in passive voice. From the posts above this type sentence translates best into passive voice. Although I think "My father uses this car" is now an accepted answer and that is active voice.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dtmedic
dtmedic
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I tried "This car is USED by my father" and it came back incorrect. I changed it to "My father uses this car" and it came back as correct...so it seems that there are some difference

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Huysan
Huysan
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Your answer is accepted now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scottann

Remember that the order Subject verb object is customary only in non flexed languages (ie with no word ending change) and it can always be changed for emphasis oe effect, like art...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drowswell
drowswell
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What's wrong with "This car my father uses"?

I'm imagining it being said in context like: "This car my father uses, this car my mother uses, and this car my sister uses"...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ReneStudies
ReneStudies
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why isnt it "a mi padre"?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carnaedy
CarnaedyPlus
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Because "a mi padre" marks an object, while in this sentence "mi padre" is the subject.

4 years ago