With gustar, the literal translation is "Music is pleasing to my sister."
Gustar is preceded by a required indirect object pronoun (in this case le) which indicates that the person pleased is 3rd person singular. (My sister = 3rd person singular = le)
Then to clarify who the le is, an a-phrase is added: a mi hermana.
My father likes music. A mi padre le gusta la música.
My friends like music. A mis amigos les gusta la música.
I think I understand this. So, since 'my sister' is 3rd person singular direct object in this construction, could the sentence be reordered as "Le gusta la música a mi hermana." ??
The only way to indicate possession in Spanish is by using genitive case. For example, in "The music is pleasing to my sister/A mi hermana le gusta la música," "to my sister" and "a mi hermana" are equivalent genitive prepositional phrases indicating ownership, which Spanish and English share because of their Romance Language roots.
Indirect object pronouns are mandatory Spanish grammar even when a sentence contains an indirect object noun. Because indirect object nouns are in genitive case (and hence in prepositional phrase form), they can go either at the beginning of a sentence, as in "A mi hermana le gusta la música" (To her, my sister, the music, is pleasing), or at the end, as in "Le gusta la música a mi hermana" (The music is pleasing to her, my sister).
Spanish doesn't have a genitive case, I'm guessing you mean dative case, but the sentence you are using as an example doesn't state possession of any sorts.
With gustar you slap an A in front of the sentence, same with encantar or a few other verbs. The thing that is confusing me is what is "la" doing in front of "musica" ? If you say "me gusta escucho musica en mi dormitorio" it's cool. You can omit the "la". However, then "la" just pops back up after gustar as if it belongs there. "my sister likes the music"...me tarzan, spanish make the headache happen.
The la is necessary because the sentence in spanish reads "Music is pleasing to my sister" and music is the subject. Subject nouns require the article in front in spanish. We learned earlier that "Summer is fun" had to be translated as "El verano es divertido" So we need la música.
"La" precedes "música" because it is the article that is gender-matched with "música." Also, "música" is a general, rather than specific, noun. That is why the article is needed with the direct object.
That depends on the sentence, but if you say something like "I like sports", then you need the article: "Me gustan los deportes."
OP edit: Most of this entry is incorrect and left here only for the sake of the discussion below. Ryagon has the corrected information and we further discuss this below.
'A mi hermana' is the Direct Object of this sentence. You could use the direct object pronoun 'la' to replace - 'a mi hermana'.
If the direct object is a specific person it requires the personal 'a'. When you are referring to a member of a category of people it is not needed. 'Busco a mi novia' - specifically 'my girlfriend' vs Busco una novia' - a girlfriend in general.
This is what DL was referring to in the 'tips' for this lesson: If we want to add a name (for example, To Miguel traveling is pleasing) we need to use 'a' (so, A Miguel le gusta viajar). ¿A Miguel le gusta viajar? Does Miguel like traveling?
The original sentence could be rewritten as 'Se la gusta la musica' - 'The music is pleasing to her' but the direct object pronoun 'la' (la gusta - not la música) may not be clear as to whom the 'la' is. In those cases (when you aren't pointing at a 'her' or to indicate the 'her' is your sister) you add the phrase 'a mi hermana' to explain (and/or) omit the direct object pronoun 'la'. 'A mi hermana le gusta la música'.
Certain pronouns, such as alguien and nadie, always require the personal a when used as direct objects, even when they refer to no specific person.
This assessment is wrong for three reasons:
- "Mi hermana" is not a direct object here because
- Gustar is an intransitive verb in this meaning (def. 3).
- Even if it were a direct object, you'd still have to use la as long as that object does not appear after the verb.
Gustar (and its handful of friends) is a bit of an odd verb. It doesn't take direct objects, but only has a subject and an indirect object. In this case, "la música" is the subject, and "mi hermana" is the object. As you correctly stated, a closer English translation would be of the form "The music is pleasing to my sister." It's custom for Spanish sentences that contain gustar-like verbs to begin with the object and subsequently have the subject after the verb:
- A la maestra le gusta la mesa nueva. = La mesa nueva le gusta a la maestra. - The teacher likes the new table. / The new table is pleasing to the teacher.
- A mí me faltan dos lápices. = Dos lápices me faltan a mí. - I'm missing two pencils. / Two pencils are missing from me.
That is why you have le in front of gustar, and won't ever find "la gusta" or "lo gusta" (again, in the meaning of "to like/to please").
As for the third problem, if you mix up the standard word order of a sentence and put a direct or indirect object in front of the verb, you also need to add the respective object pronoun. (See section 5.2 in this grammar definition.)
- Llamo a mi madre. - A mi madre la llamo. - I am calling my mother.
- El hombre no puede creer eso. - Eso no lo puede creer el hombre. - The man cannot believe that.
- Ayudé al maestro. - Al maestro lo ayudé. - I helped the teacher.
You've deepened my understanding of defective verbs. I've been following you for a while (not like that) and even credited you (positively) in my book.
One of the learning objectives for this Skill is 'the personal a'
I think my error arose from the rules that 'the 'personal a' is used (only) for direct objects that refer to a specific person' (https://www.thoughtco.com/the-personal-a-preposition-3078139) and that 'defective verbs don't take direct objects'.
Researching I find: 'Keep in mind that 'a' is a very common preposition with a variety of translations. The basic rule here pertains to its use preceding a direct object, not in the numerous other cases where a preposition is called for' (Same ref as above).
'A prepositional phrase beginning with 'a' can be added to the sentence for either clarification or emphasis, further indicating who is being pleased. Even when the prepositional phrase is used, gustar still needs the indirect object pronoun (https://www.thoughtco.com/using-gustar-properly-3079750).'
All of which is is confirming your entry on the defective verbs
When I look at 'a mi hermana' as a prepositional phrase it leaves me here: That that phrase is operating as indirect object because it clarifies the indirect pronoun 'le'.
Should the rule "'the personal a' is used (only) for direct objects that refer to a specific person" be rewritten as '''the personal a' is used (only) for objects that refer to a specific person' such that 'hermana' is the object of the preposition 'a'?
Is this a better understanding of 'the personal a'?
Or was 'wake and bake' a bad idea today?
Which of these rules you use is up to you (because in the end it doesn't actually matter), but I'd say the most accurate would be this:
- A "personal a" is used for direct objects that are a specific person, a personified entity, or a group thereof.
- Indirect objects are preceded by a preposition a.
Indirect objects get an a in Spanish, regardless of their personhood or if they're animate at all. This a serves the same function as the "to" that's often used for indirect objects in English.
- A la Tierra le ocurren muchas cosas. - Many things are happening to the Earth.
- A los árboles no les gusta el frío. - The trees do not like the cold weather.
It's a bit difficult to find sources for this, since inanimate indirect pronouns are a bit uncommon and every guide only seems to busy itself with pronouns. But the RAE entry for a contains a brief of these rules in deff. 1 and 2, and Reverso contains a few relevant sentences.
CorrinMurr, for a native English speaker the line between an indirect object pronoun and a reflexive pronoun is very murky, especially when the verb is a reflexive verb. I myself do not completely understand it. This is what I do know ...
"Le" is always an indirect object pronoun. Depending on the person and number of the noun that the indirect pronoun is replacing, "me" (me), "te" (you singular), "le" (him, her, it), "nos" (us), "os" (you plural), or "les" (them, you formal) is used. When the indirect object pronouns "le" or "les" are followed by direct object pronouns that begin with the letter "l," the pronoun "se" is substituted for "le" or "les."
Also, when a verb is made reflexive by the use of a reflexive pronoun, the verb can be translated to English present progressive tense, and the direct object is essentially transmuted into the subject of the sentence. At the same time, the reflexive pronoun is also functioning as an indirect object pronoun. Thus, it can be translated as the null subject pronoun "it." Hence, "Me lo gusta" has "me" as the IO pronoun and "lo" as the DO pronoun. Using genitive case, "Me lo gusta" literally translates as "Me it pleases." Because genitive case prepositional phrases can be converted into subjects of sentences, "Me it pleases" converts colloquially to "It pleases me/I like it." "I like it" is the most colloquial interpretation.
Your entire last paragraph confuses me a bit. There's neither a reflexive pronoun in your example, nor has it anything to do with a genitive (possessive) case.
"Me lo gusta" doesn't work. Gustar does not take direct objects.
The last part of expressions like "Me gusta la música" is the subject. Music acts on me in a pleasing manner, so you can't replace it by lo or la. If you want to replace it, you need a subject pronoun:
- Me gusta la música. - Ella me gusta. / Me gusta ella.
Diane72505, if a sentence has a pronoun as the direct object and a noun as the indirect object, the sentence still syntactically requires an indirect object pronoun. For example, "It is pleasing to my sister" gets translated literally as "A mi hermana le lo gusta." However, THIS denotative translation is WRONG. Because "le lo" is hard to say, Spanish grammar and usage changes the word "le" into the easier-to-pronounce "se." Thus, the RIGHT translation of "It is pleasing to my sister" is "A mi hermana se lo gusta." An alternate correct interpretation is "Se lo gusta a mi hermana."
Hermana is a sibling of a specific gender, and those have special names in English.
Gustar is usually translated as "to like". She finds music comforting, but is not enthusiastic about it. A stronger, loving feeling would be represented by encantar.
"A quién". Since you're asking about an indirect object, you need the a here.