Translation:The doctors know my grandfather well.
I considered the same thing and immediately dismissed it as being at the very least awkward. I find it easier to understand and remember the order of this sentence by slightly switching up the English translation. Literally, "The doctors know well my grandfather." Then I change it to "My grandfather is well-known to the doctors." At least it helps me with the "bien" not being at the end of the sentence.
"In language, it is only necessary that it be understood" - attributed to Confucius. I would add, it's best if it could be understood without having to re-read it once or twice. Good English is easy to read, and is what is practiced by good writers. That is what we should strive for and what dictionaries should follow - not all the difficult-to-read error-filled stuff we see on the Internet.
So I would agree with you if you intended to say that dictionaries should follow good writing.
I wanted to agree to the sentiment of striving for making good writing the standard, but I need to be a bit more hard-lined here, my apologies.
What you consider "good writing" might not be what the majority considers so. If you find some writing "difficult to read" and "error-filled", you might just not be used to it. Pre-1900 English is already pretty awkward from a current standpoint.
Wherever the common language develops, so be it, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Fighting against language development is a losing battle.
Here is the NGRAM of granddad vs. grandad. Apparently these two spellings were neck and neck with each other until the last 20-30 years. There was even a time when grandad was significantly more common that grandad. These ngrams relate to appearances in books. In terms of spoken language I think most people would be hard pressed to detect the difference, even with double d's I think only one is typically pronounced.
OK, but I'm not sure we can trust dictionaries any more on spelling and usage, since they have become followers instead of leaders. I would prefer a double d in that word.
The definite article is never superfluous in Spanish. It is often used in Spanish when it is not used in English, but that doesn't make it superfluous.
The definite article in the Spanish sentence means either (a) we are talking about specific doctors or (b) all doctors in general. Since it wouldn't make sense for doctors in general to know any one person well, that can't be the interpretation of the Spanish. Thus, it can only be a reference to specific doctors.
In short, you need the definite article in the English translation.
In Spanish you need "a" in front of the object, if the object is a person or people. For example: Veo a Pedro (I see Pedro); Veo a las maestras (I see the teachers); Veo a mis amigos (I see my friends); Veo a algunos medicos (I see some doctors). It can also be used if the object is an animal and the speaker holds some personal feeling toward it.
You don't use the personal "a" if the object is inanimate...Veo el libro (I see the book).
Does this sentence suggest they know him personally (for example, as a friend), or could it also mean something like they know him well because he's ill so they see him a lot at the hospital? It could mean either in English, so I'm just wondering if the same dual meaning is possible in Spanish
Yes, conocer can have the full range of meanings in Spanish as we have in English. In this case, they might be very familiar with his medical history, they may have seen him often and know him personally, they may know that he is a big liar, or a hypochondriac, or afraid of needles. A very common meaning of conocer in Spanish is to "know someone's tricks" they can't fool you anymore.
The reason that "knows" is incorrect is because that is the incorrect verb form for this sentence. The ones doing the "knowing" are the doctors, which means the verb "to know" will be used in the "they" form. English does not have obvious individual endings for each verb conjugation, unlike Spanish. In this case, the verb is conjugated I know, you know, he/she knows, we know, they know.