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  5. La lana puede que les calient…


La lana puede que les caliente.

This is DL's translation for "wool might make you hot". Can somebody explain the meaning of "les" to me? Or why "la lana puede que sentirte caliente" is wrong?

June 13, 2018



"les" is an indirect object showing to whom or for whom something is done. (https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/indirect-object-pronouns)

The verb calentar means to warm or to heat.
"puede que" means might or perhaps.

The wool might warm you/them/people.

"Caliente" is used in the subjunctive because "puede que" is uncertain.

I'm not sure why an indirect object is used instead of a direct object, though. A direct object pronoun "replaces a direct object, which is a noun that directly receives the action of a verb in a sentence." https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/direct-object-pronouns-in-spanish In English direct and indirect object pronouns sound the same and I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing one from the other, despite it being my native language.

Looking at WordReference http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=calentar, perhaps it's because calentar is being used here as an intransitive verb, without a direct object.
I heat the food = transitive.
Let's warm up before exercising = intransitive.

The wool is not really heating people, it's causing them to warm up.

What a great question!


It needs a direct object in this sentence. An indirect object would be necessary in sentences like this: "Puede que la lana les caliente los pies [a ellos/ellas/ustedes]".


Oh, and about "la lana puede que sentirte caliente"

This does not make sense in Spanish. It would mean something like "the wool can feel you hot". Maybe "la lana puede que tenga calor". In Spanish, you don't get hot or feel hot, you have heat.

Tengo calor, tengo frío = I am hot, I am cold.


Thank you Lrtward. My confusion is the result of not recognizing caliente as a verb as opposed to an adjective.

But here is the follow-up question: which verb form is caliente?


The infinitive is calentar, and in this sentence it is in the third person present subjunctive. I think of it as ud./él/ella may heat up. Subjunctive still gives me fits.

WordReference has great conjugation tables for Spanish: http://www.wordreference.com/conj/EsVerbs.aspx?v=calentar


Thanks again. I looked up the conjugation for calentar before to find out that it is indeed irregular. But that has no impact on the subjunctive. It is a consolation that even you as a native speaker have a problem with the subjunctive, probably not with speaking but with the grammatical rules.

[deactivated user]

    "I looked up the conjugation for calentar before to find out that it is indeed irregular. But that has no impact on the subjunctive."

    If a verb is irregular in the normal present tense it will usually be irregular in the subjunctive, what you'll find is if you take the "o" off the present tense yo- form of a verb and switch it with the endings for the subjunctive, you'll probably have the subjunctive, e.g tengo-tenga/as/amos/an etc, hago-haga, duermo-duerma and so on.


    It is wrong, except for "leístas" from Spain or for people who use the polite "le" in Latin America (a minority). "Calentar" takes a direct object: "puede que los caliente [a ellos/a ustedes]" or "puede que las caliente [a ellas]". The phrasing is right for a native speaker, but a little confusing for a student, because the order is altered, the normal sentence would be "Puede que la lana les caliente".

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