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  5. "My cat doesn't have to wash …

"My cat doesn't have to wash itself."

Translation:Mi gato no tiene que lavarse.

June 18, 2018



So "se levar" is wrong. It has to be "lavarse?" I wrote, "Mi gato no tiene que se lavar," and got it wrong.


Object pronouns are either placed before a personal form of a verb (Conjugated verbs) or after an impersonal form of it (infinitive, gerundio, or, very rarely, a participle), so either of these two are correct:

  • Mi gato no se tiene que lavar.
  • Mi gato no tiene que lavarse.


"Lavarse" is the infinitive (all reflexive verbs in Spanish end in se). If you put the pronoun "se" in front of "lavar" you are conjugating in the third person. ie. el/ella/usted se lava. ellos/as/ustedes se lavan.


The important bit of information being that when a reflexive verb follows a preposition, it needs to be infinitive. "Que se lavar" isn't valid due to the preceding "que".


You are saying that lavarse is infinitive and se lavar is not? I'm still confused.


Yep! The infinitive of a reflexive verb is the one with "se" at the end. The conjugated form is the one with the reflexive pronoun in front.


That...weird. Many thanks for the explanation!


If you think Spanish grammar is weird, try learning English coming from a foreign language. English started with a Germanic grammar, but then we mashed in Norman French, and let it stew for a while.

English doesn't do "loan words" from other languages. English follows other languages into dark alleys, bonks them over the head, and rifles through their pockets looking for loose participles.


Point of grammatical order: you still have to append the correct pronoun, even to the infinitive form of a reflexive verb. For example:

  • I have to wash up. = Tengo que lavarme.

(Not 'lavarse'. "Tengo que lavarse" would mean that I have to wash him, her, a pet or other living creature, you [Usted], or any combination thereof.)


"Tengo que lavarse" doesn't work at all, since se is always only reflexive (at least as long as se is the only object pronoun).

"I have to wash him/her/etc." would be "Tengo que lavarlo" or "Tengo que lavarla."


The subject is gato, so it is third person (so to speak).


I understood the first half of your reply, you say... "you are conjugating in the third person." What the fudge does that mean? And why is it bad/wrong?


In this case, 'person' identifies who is performing the action, relative to the person talking about it.

  • First person: the speaker is involved in the action. (Singular: "I/me"; plural: "we/us".)

  • Second person: the person or people being spoken to are the ones involved. (Singular: "you"; plural: "you" or "you all".)

  • Third person: everyone else. (Singular: "he/him, she/her, it"; plural: "they/them".)

(Remember also that in Spanish, although 'Usted' technically means 'you', it's conjugated in the third person, same as 'él' and 'ella'.)

The point the OP was trying to make (similar to my response, which is currently below your post) is that both the verb conjugation and pronoun choice have to match both personhood and plurality, in both Spanish and English.

[deactivated user]

    Oh Duo, you are sooo wrong, haven't you seen, cats wash themselves several times a day. Superclean animal, always tidy and smelling good :-)


    Los gatos no están limpios, exactamente. Están cubiertos de saliva de gato, en lugar de la suciedad.


    I used se lava and it was marked wrong.


    You cannot conjugate lavarse if you already conjugated "tener que".


    Why just lavarse and not se lavarse?


    What's wrong with "mi gato no necesita lavarse"?


    Susan, there's nothing wrong with it in principle; that's also a good sentence. Duo just usually prefers pretty parallel translations:

    • tener que - to have to
    • necesitar - to need to


    Wonder if it's the same gato that swims en la piscina - then it makes complete sense.


    Why is the gender all male. My cat is female!


    You can also translate it as gata here, no problem. No other word would change.


    But I think that it is normal to use the masculine? At least in French it is common to use 'le chat' for any cat whose sex is unknown, whereas in German you usually say 'die Katze', unless you know it is a tom cat, whereupon you use 'der Kater'.


    Yes, the default word for "cat" in Spanish is gato. Gata would only be used if the cat is known to be female.


    plus which in French "la chatte"means"❤❤❤❤❤" (in the colloquial sense)


    I guess we have to learn those meanings one way or another.


    what is the difference between lavarse and se lavar??? ... oh! I looked below and I understand not -- I could have put the se antes de tiene (or tienes, si?)


    What is wrong with " mi gato no necesita que lavarse"


    If you're using necesitar, you don't want the "que"; necesitar just takes an infinitive verb as its complement directly. "Necesita lavarse" = needs to wash himself. "Tiene que lavarse" = has to wash himself.


    In truth, it's just the opposite: Cats do HAVE TO clean themselves. It's a very strong instinct. However it's an inner compulsion for cats, not a societal expectation, as with humans! Mrowr!

    • 1519

    Surely " no tiene que" means must not. Doesn't have to in english means it is not necessary that..


    I think 'deber' is used for must, that'll be the difference though


    The colloquial meaning of "no tiene que" is probably "must not," given that the colloquial meaning of "tiene que" is "must."


    Tener = to have, tener que = have to, no tener que + not to have to.

    • no deber - must not = it's not allowed to
    • no tener que - not have to = it's allowed but not necessary to


    Why isn't this acceptable?


    You should include what exactly you're asking about. No one knows what you have answered.

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