"I like chocolate cake."
Translation:Me gusta el pastel de chocolate.
You're talking about all chocolate cake in general, and it's the subject of the sentence (Chocolate cake is pleasing to me.), so the article is needed.
It'll be used before nouns after gusta/n. Me gusta el español. (I like Spanish.) Me gustan los perros. (I like dogs.) No te gustan los exámenes. (You don't like exams.) No nos gusta la ensalada. (We don't like salad.)
This makes sense to me, but what I'm having trouble understanding is if we use el/la/los/las with nouns in both a general sense ("I like chocolate cake") AND in a specific sense ("I like THE chocolate cake"), how do we know which way to translate a sentence in English? Can you shed any light on this? Thanks :)
There may be exceptions, but when two nouns (and chocolate is used as a noun here) are used together they are joined by "de"--think of it as saying "a cake (made) of chocolate). It is called contiguity, and is probably clearer when both words are obviously nouns such as sunglasses which translates to "gafas de sol". This also applies to gerunds ("ing" form of the verb used as a noun) such as "parking". An example is parking garage "garage de estacionamiento" or the more Americanized "garage de parking". It seems awkward initially but is very common--mandatory actually in Spanish and Romance languages with which I am familiar. In English we sometimes, but not always, run the words together without spaces. I think the notes in one module cover it. **edit--one of the exceptions: Videojuego is very common and not the expected juego de video.
This is very helpful. Thank you so much. One thing that I don't get, though, is I would say in English, chocolate is an adjective. But you are saying in Spanish it is a noun in this sentence? How does one know when an English adj becomes a noun? I mean a blue cake would be el pastel azul, not el pastel de azul, right? Blue could be a noun just as much as chocolate could, it seems to me.
You are right, the classification blurs sometimes because at the heart of it you are modifying "cake" and that is the job of an adjective---usually. It is actually a noun in English too--used as an adjective. In English you don't have to think..is it a noun or not..we just use it like an adjective, but Spanish, Italian, and even the Semitic Hebrew have this special construct. How do you know? I think if you can say "of or made of or made for" that is a clue. You wouldn't say, "House of red" for example. It seems tricky but I think you will fall into it naturally--and un juego de fútbol will not seem awkward, but un juego fútbol would just seem incomplete--the two nouns want their "marriage" legitimized by de.
Dan, I have a comment where you say, "This also applies to gerunds ("ing" form of the verb used as a noun) such as "parking". An example is parking garage "garage de estacionamiento" or the more Americanized "garage de parking". You stated a gerund is a verb used as a noun, which is correct. But your example of a gerund is actually a noun (estacionamiento) not a gerund (estacionar). Garaje de estacionar o garaje de aparcar are two examples of Parking Garage with gerunds.
Thanks, Marcy. Also, here's an explanation of article usage with examples: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/using-the-definite-article-in-spanish
I am relatively fluent in Spanish, and I still occasionally struggle with this. Imagine people coming from languages that have no definite article such as Thai and Chinese--they hardly know when to put it in. At least Spanish and English match up most of the time. I still remember a sign outside a hotel in Thailand that started its message with, "Dear the guest......"
Also, in this example, not only is pastel a noun after gustar, it is a modified noun (it could be specifically chocolate versus a different kind). Your four examples (Spanish, dogs, exams, salad) are not modified and are general terms. They are not distinguished by which type of, via a modifier. The cake, while it may be generalized by type, is distinguished from other types of cake, as a chocolate cake, not a fruitcake, carrot cake, or pineapple upside down cake, so is specifically a chocolate cake. Both specific and general nouns use an article. So when you say because it's a general nouns, I would say, A general noun as opposed to what kind of noun?
In this case, whether "chocolate cake" is being general or specific really depends on what you are trying to convey. A chocolate cake is general if you are referring to all types of chocolate cakes no matter what types of chocolate cakes, so including German Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Fudge Cakes, Dutch Chocolate Cakes, M&Ms Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Mousse Cakes, Mocha Fudge Cakes and Flourless Chocolate Cakes. In that specific context, "chocolate cakes" is a general term. You like all of these, all chocolate cakes. But ... if you like chocolate cake as opposed to Coconut Cream Cake, PUD Cake, etc, then you are being specific, like at a party telling the person, You don't want those other fine cakes: Which cake do you want to try? I like chocolate cake, you respond. Either way, general and specific uses the article.
Where it would NOT use the article 'el' postre is: With Unspecified Quantities Example: ¿Lleva huevo la ensalada? (The amount of eggs is unspecified.) En esa tienda venden televisores. (The amount of TV's is unknown.) A la fiesta tiene postres de chocolate. (The amount is unspecified.)
Depending on your situation, then, this is how you would do it. So just remember: general, specific = article and unspecified amount = no article. (Does this mean the amount of chocolate cake is unknown, not specific? Well, you can argue that it is specific because if you like chocolate cakes in general, you like ALL of them, and that's pretty specific in number. So you have to decide what you are trying to convey and when interpreting you have to determine what the speaker is trying to convey. If unclear, ask them or if asked, clarify yourself.
I hope this clears this up. Best regards.
I'm sorry @marcy65brown, that makes no sense to me. I would have thought it was the opposite!
Cake in general - no article; specific cake - article If what you say is right, how do you say 'i like the cake'? Also, the cake is the object, not the subject. The subject is 'I'
"I" is the subject in the ENGLISH sentence. "CAKE" is the subject in the SPANISH sentence, and therein lies the confusion. Direct translations often don't work because of two languages varied constructions. In fact there is no "I" in the Spanish sentence at all. Also, if you want to be specific, you may say, "Me gusta este pastel", sidestepping the common use of the definite article to indicate generality. Again, direct translations are troublesome. If the cake is not near you, you could use ese, or aquel (a word that means, "that--over there".
Thank you Dan, that makes more sense now. I didn't know the subject & object were different in Spanish. I think some of the confusion may lie (apart from the lack of explanations from DL) in the fact that some of us are responding to the Spanish to English translation, and some vice versa
Whenever you open a module, instead of pressing START, press the lightbulb, first. THAT is where the lesson is. In Preferences, you get https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Preference/tips which will explain in a very simple way, how to use "me gusta". Unfortunately, I can not find any clear way to understand why we have to say "el pastel".
"Pasteles" or "los pasteles" should probably be accepted as well as the singular "el pastel." Question sounds like they are describing a general like for chocolate cakes, not just a like for one specific chocolate cake. Certainly a Spanish speaker would understand this if the plural were used, not only the singular. Right?
In reality, rather than saying “I like cake”, you’re really saying “cake pleases me”. You demonstrate who is being pleased - “me” - by using the Spanish word “me”. Then you need to demonstrate what’s doing the pleasing - the “cake”, or in other words “it”. The correct conjugation for he, she or it is “gusta”. So in the end, you have “me gusta el pastel”. “Me gusto” would basically mean “I please me” or “I like myself”.
I'm at a loss too. why not, Yo gusto el pastel de chocolate. The sentence asked is, I like chocolate cake, not The chocolate cake pleases me. I guess my question is, why not say it in the way a Spanish speaker would think. I would hope to be able to think in Spanish as I'm speaking.
Alas, probably none of us are grammarians--but--try not to fight this construction---you HAVE to learn it whether you call gustar(se) a normal verb, a reflexive verb, or a "verb like gustar" for which I found an interesting website, posted below. Additionally, I tried the spanishdict.com and as you said, didn't find gustarse listed per se, but the first example on that website (for gustar) is "Me gusta la comida mexicana--I like Mexican food. Is it reflexive---not in the traditional sense, nor is it reciprocal (such as we hug EACH OTHER). Hopefully the following website will make everybody right and everybody happy---but you still have to master this idiomatic construction. https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/verbs-like-gustar
This is not a trick to mock students. It is a general feature of Romance languages. It is done in English, but much less often. Imagine a documentary on Africa, and the narrator says, "The lion is a noble beast". He could hardly say, "Lion is a noble beast", and he is not talking about a particular lion, but lions in general. Leaving the article out in Spanish sounds as odd to a Spanish speaker as, as saying, "lion is a noble beast" in English.
Using the Definite Article in Spanish:
I don't quite understand what translation you are claiming should be correct, but the sentence needs to be written as Duo presented. The speaker is not claiming to like a single cake or all cakes. They are claiming to like cake as a general rule. Spanish dictates that you must use 'el' in that case.
In English, we sometimes use words that are traditionally nouns as adjectives such as they are using chocolate here. Chocolate is a noun since it is a thing, but when we place it before cake, it becomes an adjective.
Spanish dies not work like this. Chocolate is a noun, period. In Spanish, to combine two nouns, you have to use the preposition 'de.'
It is an incorrect combination of pronouns. The subject pronouns (yo, tú, él, ella, usted,nosotros, ustedes and ellos) can never be combined with the indirect object pronouns in any construction I can think of. You must use the indirect object pronouns (me, te, le, nos, les*）You can for emphasis add the tonic pronouns (a mi, a ti, a usted, a él, a ella, a nosotros, a ustedes, a ellos (as). Unlike Italian you can’t add either tonic or indirect object pronoun. You have to use indirect and then optionally add the tonic (a mi) for emphasis. For example a mi me gusta xxxxxx. Or a él le gusta xxxxxx.
When you have a question about an exercise and click on discussion, it opens up with a comment box. It's a natural reaction to go ahead and ask your question. I've done this before and realized that I should have scrolled down through the other comments. I'm figuring it out and so will the others. I respect your experience and knowledge. You've been active on this site for almost 6 years without missing a day. That's INCREDIBLE!! We really value your input. Please be patient with those of us that are just starting out. We'll get there.
It is I like chocolate cake, NOT I like the chocolate cake. You guys need to do some updating