If this sentence translates to "I have the messages FROM the secretary", how are we supposed to say "I have the messages OF the secretary"?
Better English would be "the secretary's messages", (rather than "of the secretary."
Right. The OF or FROM can be excluded.
”I have the secretary's messages."
Both are correct. 'From' is when you got the messages from the secretary and 'Of' is when have seen the messages somewhere (on a publication board) and spread the news.
DL did not allow the "OF" version hence I was curious. Thanks for the clarification
It may be wordy but it's not clumsy. Remember contractions in english! "The messages of the secretary" when contracted becomes "The secretary's messages."
BOTH are grammatically correct. BOTH mean possession.
I would call not taking advantage of commonly used linguistic shortcuts clumsy as well. Yes both sentences are grammatically correct and both sentences assume possession. But one of the many hats I have worn in my life is editor, and I would edit the messages of the secretary virtually every time. The only exception would be for dialog if the intended impact was that the speaker was somehow struggling with his thoughts or communication in general. It's pretty much the definition of clumsy speech
Yes. The de la/del is seldom directly translated into English. Generally the relationship between the two nouns is reflected in English by either a possessive or by a noun modifying another noun like kitchen table. Here I think secretary's messages is the best English. It conveys the same ambiguity as the Spanish. Although using a prepositional phrase in English is not wrong, just stringy and uncommon, using one here prompts one to do something to eliminate the ambiguity. That's why, I assume, for the secretary has been accepted. But I am pretty sure that if that English sentence were given to us to translate Duo would want to see para.
Writing centers that teach English writing say to reduce the unnecessary uses of a prepositional phrase for the possessive. Such reduction makes for better writing. Here is one such writing center. https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_prepphrases.html
Another reference: https://www.proofreadnow.com/blog/bid/91213/Possessives-in-of-Phrases
Oh absolutely. As I said they are a good example of stringy writing. I am, among other things, an editor, and in almost all cases I would edit that out. But there is a difference between saying that it doesn't make concise, powerful prose and it being grammatically incorrect. I used to be a total prescriptionist in terms of Grammar. I used The Elements of Style by Strunk and White as a reference and that was first published in 1918 so it was already a little behind the time by the time I got to it. But stringy writing will never come into style for effective writing. Speaking, however, has a whole different set of rules even including people who intentionally make an error for effect. But even in the spoken language it is unusual unless there is a strange complication in the possession.
What is the difference between "para" and "de" How do you know which to use where?
I wasn't referring to Google Translate.
But;, for the difference between "para" and "de", I would just type that in.
Regards Google translate -- I find that it is usually better than me. But at times, I send corrections to Google Translate.
Having read the thread I still do not understand the meaning. The messages are: - the ones I received from the secretary; - or the ones I need to pass to the secretary; - or they are just her messages that do not have any connection to me, but I had somehow get hold of them?
Can some native speaker help to understand?
El problema es con la lenguaje non con el idioma. That sentence is expressed better in Spanish than English. The problem is inherent with this particular phrasing not with any particular language. The best translation for this sentence is perhaps I have the secretary's messages. The fact that saying that doesn't answer ANY of your questions but did result in a perfectly normal and grammatical sentence tells you that it is the message itself that is ambiguous. There are many possibly ambiguous things that we say and hear every day. Most of them don't even seem ambiguous in the moment because the context assists us in determining meaning without us even being aware of how we resolved the ambiguity or mostly even that there was any. Conversely, most of us commonly ask simple clarifying questions also without thinking about it because if we notice the ambiguity in our own language we realize that it just happens sometimes. When it is our own language, we recognize the problem isn't with our own ability to understand. All the possibilities that you expressed exist in this sentence in Spanish, English, and all the languages I know, although it is certainly possible for a language to develop terminology or grammatical structure that would clarify a particular type of ambiguity. But I doubt there is a language without inherent ambiguity
The Spanish is just as ambiguous as "I have the secretary's messages" is in English.
welcome to the club. ougr happens but it is important to use proper spelling. i message with various spanish speaking people that use por spelling. it makes translating much harder that way. Although i will agree it is frustrating but duo has no way of knowing our thought.....yet....i dont think..... have you seen duos eyes follow you across the screen!!! ok warped humor as i wait for my car to be repaired.
Both forms ARE correct The messages FROM (given to me by) the secretary. The messages OF (written by) the secretary
OK. How about I have the secretary's messages, as in I have messages left from others for the secretary?
Are we trying to learn english here? Seems that way. Geez! Let's skip sentences like these!
This sentence is a perfectly normal sentence in both Spanish and English. There are many, many sentences in Spanish that have different possible translations. All language is extremely dependent on context, and there are a couple of factors that makes that even truer in Spanish like the practice of omitting subject pronouns. The Spanish construction el/la/los/las X del/de la/(etc) Y ALWAYS will have a couple of possible translations. Possession is always a possibility, especially if you are talking about a living being that we generally consider to possess things, but a sentence like las hojas del libro, the book's pages is also possible. La carta del maestro could be the letter from the teacher, the letter of the teacher or the teacher's letter are all possible. But this sort of sentence you will hear daily if you speak a lot of Spanish and most people don't have any problem with them, unless they don't understand all the possibilities.
Becca, while in our effort toward becoming fluent in Spanish we ultimately need to abandon all thought about English, there are students here who have minds that are reluctant to give up thinking in English. Many of them like to believe what we need to is learn to do is good translations in our heads so as to be able to converse in Spanish. While Duoling is not in the business of teaching translation, there are many exceedingly vocal students here who like to think Duoling is supposed to be teaching translation so they want Duolingo to be accepting sentences in English in the way they say stuff. Perhaps they will one day see the light and leave off doing that for gaining an understanding that they are supposed to be learning Spanish here and not the different ways something can be said in English. And possibly not.
Let me add to the confusion about the different ways to say stuff in English here.
I wrote: "I have the messages for the secretary."
And it was correct.
That's interesting. I wonder if that is actually a meaning that a Spanish speaker would likely understand or if Duo just got tired/lazy. That translation does, however, has a distinct alternative translation that makes for the obvious translation: para. But it is quite possible that in informal language settings that this might be interpreted as the same thing. Either from or of or the possessive pretty much has to be de. I guess the issue is that theoretically the secretary's messages could be either messages FROM the secretary or messages FOR the secretary.
Which way it would mean would be according to how the subject matter has been being talked about.
Perhaps someone just said, "¿Quien tiene los mensajes para de la secretaria?" ("Who has the messages for the secretary?")
The English translation of the response could then be, "I have the messages for the secretary."
I also wrote "I have the messages FOR the secretary." and got correct, but duolingo suggests: "Another correct solution: I have the messages from the secretary." Which I think is the opposite direction for the message of what I and EugeneTiffany wrote. Message is FOR: Recipient is the secretary. Message is FROM: The sender of the message is the secretary. May the spanish sentence be so ambiguous?
The Spanish sentence is absolutely that ambiguous. The preposition de is normally translated as either of or from. But this ambiguity is also in the best translation of this sentence I have the secretary's messages. Depending on the context, that can be either messages from the secretary directly, the ones she took as part of her function as secretary, or messages for her from when she was out. It's a little less obvious because of the fact that it is the secretary's job to take messages so one direction tends to be assumed. But if you change the pattern to something like I have the boss's flowers it's easier to see. You might have picked up flowers as a gift from the department, you may have mistakenly received them, or you may have received flowers from your boss. When you have two nouns separated by a preposition like here, the English translation is most often à double noun, compound noun or possessive.
La puerta del coche - car door
La hermana de mi madre - my mother's sister
La alfombra de baño - bathmat.
When I answered this earlier this way, it was incorrect. Please fix. Very confusing.
Your comment is out of place. To report an error or request a change in the exercise you have to contact the Duo team directly. The easiest way to do that is by clicking the flag icon. But just as a note, when you click the flag icon it captures your answer. If you want feedback from users here, you have to specify what your answer was. Even if the Duo team were to see this message and want to work on it, I don't know if they would understand it either without that captured data.
If you are being word-for-word literal, probably for the is not the best translation. But actually this sentence is potentially ambiguous anyway. The most common translations for de are of and from. The of here is potentially possession (the secretary's messages), and when you think of it even that is potentially ambiguous in English. Are they the secretary's messages because she took the messages for someone or because the messages are for her. The from is somewhat clearer. They are from to the secretary which would cover either messages that she sent by way of you or you have a message directly from the secretary herself which you are conveying.
To clearly be for, you would have to have either para or por. Para would be if the messages were intended for the secretary - she was the end recipient. Por would be if you were conveying messages that the secretary asked you to convey for her, like from. Here is another case where por is similar to per. It wouldn't be common but also not unheard to say I have the messages per the secretary. But all this ambiguity you would probably not even think about if you heard this sentence in context. It only takes a little context to not make you even recognize the potentially ambiguous circumstances. That is actually an issue you will find on Duo from time to time. They don't always recognize all the possible translations because they used a sentence they liked for a particular circumstance and didn't even "hear" the other possibilities.
Whoa!... I was told the right answer was "I have the messages for the secretary."
As I said above, I don't think that's the best translation in terms of being strictly literal, but the use of prepositions is never completely consistent between languages. If you look at my analysis of the various possibilities of de and even adding in por and para, they are circle around the fact that the messages can either be ones the secretary may have taken for someone else or messages from someone else to the secretary. But in both cases for might be used in English. So it is an accepted answer. But the preferred answer is the one shown at the top of the discussion from the secretary. The ambiguity here means that there are several possible distinct answers. But it doesn't take much context for you to not even question the meaning in a particular case.
I answered this, "of the secretary." Duolingo called my answer wrong and said the correct answer was "for the secretary. I agree, "the secretaries messages," would sound best. However, in all the scrolling I could do using Spanishdict.com, NOWHERE did I see the word "for" listed.
No that's definitely Duo taking a indefendable position on an English translation. I think that Duo is trying to explain the answer a little because it is somewhat ambiguous. But even for can be ambiguous. It could be that you have messages taken by somebody where the secretary is the ultimate recipient in which case for would be para. But it could also be that you are doing the secretary a favor by bringing the messages that s/he had taken for the other person. In that case for would be por. But por and para in Spanish actually eliminate the ambiguity we have with of or from, although the distinction between of and from is about the same as por and para.
You won't find the word received listed as a synonym for have in any dictionary or Thesaurus. While the CONCEPT of having messages assumes that you received them at some point previously, it is not the receiving of the messages but rather the possession of the messages that this sentence talks about. When translating on Duo, it is important to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the vocabulary structure and syntax of the Spanish language, not provide an approximately equivalent sentence. I am assuming that you know at this point of the course that tengo means have. You probably did what I call double translating. You correctly translated the sentence in your head and then rephrase based on the above mentioned idea of what is implied by the sentence in your mind. That can be a valid translation technique if you were translating a literary work where tone and feeling are as important to communicate as meaning in the strictest sense. But this is more like translating in diplomacy. You dare not even tweak the meaning based on your own slant for fear of causing an international incident by not conveying the actual message of the words.
Wow! What a lot of nuance can be perceived just from the use of de la in this sentence! Here's my opinion: the messages are "from the secretary," based on this logic - this whole lesson is about WORK, and for the types of simple sentences and concepts Duo usually gives in lessons, it goes along with a person's idea of what a secretary does for the boss. The secretary deals with the public and leaves the boss notes about who called and why, so the boss can return the calls deemed important. When a boss is in a meeting, or out of the office, a secretary fills that important function, plus usually a lot of typing and filing. So he returns, looks at the messages, therefore has the messages from the secretary.
Of course it can mean other things, including someone else taking notes for the secretary while she's at lunch, and saying they have them to give to her. (Please don't tell me I'm sexist to say "she/her," given it has a feminine ending.) But the purpose of the lesson is to familiarize us with phrases about work people do, therefore I opt for the most common way to express that part of what a secretary does - she gives messages to her boss, so he/she has the messages FROM her.
De doesn't actually mean for at all. It is normally translated as OF or from. In its translation "of", de represents the normal way of expressing possession without a possessive adjective or pronoun. The secretary's messages can refer to either messages from the secretary or for the secretary. Obviously, since one of the jobs of a secretary is to take messages, without context to the contrary most people would assume that the messages were from the secretary. But with the proper context it wouldn't be strange to have someone have messages FOR the secretary from when she was in a meeting, out to lunch or on vacation. If the previous conversation were about that, saying that you had the secretary's messages would be interpreted as the messages for the secretary. Keeping your eye open for possible ambiguities in Spanish will not only help you communicate more effectively, but also correctly interpret what you hear. Having said all that, I don't really agree with Duo about accepting for as an answer. Los mensajes de la secretaria is best translated as the secretary's messages because it has the SAME ambiguity as the Spanish. But if either an English or a Spanish speaker wanted to say for, they would use a word for for. In Spanish that would be para in the scenario discussed. But Yo tengo los mensajes por la secretaria is also a valid sentence. That would assume that you are doing the secretary a favor by delivering her messages to someone else. Por is, among other things, the preposition of agency.
Secretaries messages not accepted jan 2018, is this cos said messages were not a possesion of secretary, secretary is a middleman role
Secretaries is not a possesive, it is a plural. The possessive is secretary's. So since the sentence doesn't say de las secretarias, it is not correct. It does accept secretary's, and that is to my mind the best translation here as it has the same possible ambiguities, although only one meaning would probably be assumed lacking context that suggests another in both languages because of the nature of a secretary's job.