"What pet do you want?"
Translation:¿Qué mascota quieres?
if you say quieres mascota it means do you want a pet, which is a yes/no question. que mascota tu quieres? is asking for what kind of pet do you want.
That's not entirely true. There are lots of instances in these exercises when "cuál" means "what." I am not clear on when you use "qué" for what and when you use "cuál" for what.
Well, "What do you want, pet?" could definitely be a sentence that is frequently said. :)
Did you read the page? When I search Spanishdict for "mascoto", I get this message:
Click on the link, and there's nothing. "Mascoto" is not a Spanish word.
Click on the link and you come to a page with this on it:
Explore the translation word-by-word.
mascoto > pet
Tell me how that doesn't look like it is a Spanish word?
So there just isn't any generic word for a male pet?
It's certainly a reasonable assumption given that, "cat," is translated as, "gato," pretty much every time and almost never as, "gata." Even though they are both correct.
Ah, there. Spanishdict's auto-translator is a bit weird in that it tries to imprint some meaning on words that don't actually have a meaning. And it doesn't clearly label auto-translations, apparently. (I don't like the site a lot.)
If you want, I'll give you some more appropriate resources. First, there's the dictionary of the Real Academia Española, which is the standard Spanish dictionary - like the Oxford Disctionary or Merriam-Webster for English.
Wordreference has a very good Spanish-English dictionary which separately lists different meanings of words and gives an example sentence for each. It also covers more uncommon spelling variants and has an amazing conjugation tool.
And then there's Reverso Context which browses through literature examples and their translations in various languages. It's good for seeing how a word is used in real life.
The word mascota only exists in feminine gender. There is no "generic word for a pet of a certain gender" in Spanish. Presumably because the difference in species is more important than the gender. But you can always say something like "mascota macho" if you want.
There honestly are a lot of things not to like about Spanishdict.com. Not least of those being the horrible ads. I mentioned elsewhere that even their own support people told me that they didn't blame me for using an adblocker on their page. But... It does have a really nice layout for verb conjugations and some very good advice on grammar for us grammar-challenged americanos.
I've seen the RAE dictionary a few times but, honestly, it's a bit intimidating at my level of fluency. I would find it far more helpful at this point if there was a version with definitions in English but then I expect it would have all of the same problems as every other Spanish-English translation site.
I do like Wordreference and probably ought to use that more than Spanishdict.
I've seen Reverso but haven't used it much yet.
So how come "what is your name" is "como te llamas" dosent como = what in that case?
como te llamas translates literally to "how are you call"
Como=how te= you llamas= verb to call conjugated for you informal
It's IMHO better to translate como te llamas as "How do you call yourself" te llames is reflective and you don't use 'es' in it for 'is'. Translating it to 'What is your name' just seems wrong. Yet school and other places teaches it like that I find it helpful to do Google search on things like this. Senor Jorden on u-tube explaines this topic well. Another area of confusion is ser vers estar which is commonly over simplify to ser being for permeant things and leads to confusen and better explanation on The web. Remember English and Spanish don't always translate word for word.
The other one that absolutely infuriates me is that everyone insists on translating, "...me gusta," as, "I like..."
I really don't understand why they do this! It just causes massive confusion later on for students!
I have four kids that I homeschool. The Number One Rule is: Don't ever lie to them!
What else would you translate "me gusta" as? "I like" captures the meaning pretty well, since English is lacking a word that most other European languages have, something that translates to "to be liked by".
The word you're missing is, "pleases." As in, " pleases me." Which is exactly what, "me gusta," means, right? Definitely not, "I like."
What happens when a native English speaker tries to conjugate gustar? "Is that some kind of irregular ending? What is that? What? That doesn't mean like at all, does it?"
And it's always taught early on in any Spanish class. Just to add to the confusion. Which I don't understand at all. Why would you teach someone that it means something it doesn't just because they haven't learned some other idea that you have to understand before you can understand that it really means something entirely different?
Even translating it as, "is liked by," would be a better option. The actual better option would be to save it for later on.
Communicating in Spanish in that regard is not any harder than in English. You use "it" and "this" and other pronouns, and out of context you have no idea if it refers to a house (feminine) or a car (masculine). Or how many people you're addressing when you say "you". :D
You can always come up with ways to make it less ambiguous.
Excellent points, I agree. And it's not uncommon that words like, "it," and, "this," cause misunderstandings.
Of course, as for a plural, "you," the southerners have that covered with, "y'all," but snooty people (who don't know anything about the history of English) like to look down on anyone who uses such an obviously useful word.
We're all used to the familiar problems of our native languages and have a tendency to think of them as natural consequences of speaking at all. Only once we start learning a different language do we realize that things are not what we've always assumed they were. I've always been a bit envious of people who grew up in truly bi-lingual homes.
Well, eventually you have to teach the people how "to like" is translated into Spanish as well.
I find "to please" a kind of unfit translation of gustar. I mean, grammatically it almost fits (save for gustar using indirect objects and "to please" direct objects), but the meaning is a bit... well, similar, but out of phase. To me "Something pleases me" means "I derive pleasure from it", which feels much more active and more intense than "I have affection for it".
Still, "to like" is the most simple and oft-used option in English, and I think gustar should be taught as such, including explaining its very un-English grammar.
What this really amounts to is a complete difference in the way the native speakers of each language think about things. It goes right along with the fact that, "su," means, "his," "hers," and, "yours," and, out of context, there is no way to know which one is intended. As a native English speaker, I can tell you this is very strange to me. It is such a strange thing that it makes me wonder how it is possible to communicate at all in Spanish. It really is that strange. It seems odd to me that more English speakers don't seem to think about it very much. Though I don't think many (Americans, at least) are very fond of this kind of thinking about things.
The problem is that, "me gusta," is being taught before indirect objects. And it's generally introduced without any explanation of the conjugation. It shouldn't be.
Again, as a native English speaker, I can tell you that this only leads to a lot of confusion and irritation.
Honestly, I have to disagree with your interpretations of having affection for something and being pleased by something. To me, to have affection for something is more active than to merely be pleased by something. Being pleased by something could be as mild as a passing, "Oh, that's nice." Whereas to have affection for something requires thinking about one's feelings and is more of an ongoing activity. Of course, this is just how I interpret the words and is a fine example of the kinds of problems created by the failure of humans to use telepathy as a means of communication.
"Cómo" no, "What"= Qué, some times "Cuál" if you're translating from English. In Spanish we use What= QUÉ and Which="CUÁL".
"What do you want pet?"
"What" is an adjective that modifies "pet", so they have to stay together. The same accounts for the Spanish sentence.
Like in English, the question phrase has to be in the front of the sentence, followed by the verb. "¿Tú qué mascota quieres?" is also possible.
Why is Cuál mascota quiere usted incorrect. I understand that Cuál mascota quieres is correct but have I made a mistake using the formal?
"¿Cuál mascota quieres?" is not really correct, although used often. If you want to say "Which [noun]...?" or "What [noun]...?", you should go for "¿Qué [nombre]...?"
- ¿Qué mascota quieres (tú)?
- ¿Qué mascota quiere (usted)?