"My friends like reading in the library."

Translation:A mis amigos les gusta leer en la biblioteca.

4 months ago

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ellen398635

I thought the verb gusta needed to be gustan because amigos is plural.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hallux
Hallux
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No. "Mis amigos" here is the object of the verb. An awkward but revelatory translation of... "A mis amigos les gusta leer en la biblioteca" would be "To my friends, reading in the library pleases them." The word order is different, but here you can generally see what lines up where. "Reading in the library" is an activity and in Spanish, it's always treated in the singular. The activity of 'reading' is doing the action of pleasing, and the speaker's friends are the recipient of the action.

In my second semester of college Spanish, (which I'm here to refresh before tackling 3,) my professor made a point of this. He said, that for the time being, gustar is only to be conjugated with -a and -an, and the only time it's -an is with a plural noun. Gerundial forms of verbs (treated like nouns but they're still verbs) don't count. Think of "leer en..." as "the activity of ..." if it helps with identifying the correct conjugation of gustar. Remember, gustar doesn't mean to like. It means to please.

He made this rule to avoid confusion, in general, and mentioned that in the future, we'd touch on other uses of gustar, such as "Tú me gustas." As an aside, this phrase means "I like you." (Lit., you please me.) It's one step below, "Yo te quiero." (Lit., I want you.) In Spanish, this expression has the same basic meaning as "I love you" in English. The literal verbatim translation, (always take care with these!) of the English phrase, "I love you," into Spanish is "Yo te amo," which is a level of intensity in meaning above "Yo te quiero".

"Yo te amo," is something that when a man says it to his darling, she hears wedding bells in her head. (As best as I can remember the way he explained it, it was a few years ago.)

Similarly, on the other end of the emotional spectrum, the word, "estupido" though it seems to have the same general meaning as the English word, "stupid," can almost be considered "a falso amigo," or false cognate, inasmuch as if you call someone "estupido," you should probably expect to have to 'put up your dukes,' because you'll have just bought a ticket to fist city.

"Estupido" is WAY more severe or intense of an insult than "stupid". "Tonto" is closer in meaning to the English word, "stupid". This of course, is all "IIRC". YMMV, so probably just avoid calling people names in general.

Not really even sure why I got off on this tangent. Hope this was helpful.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RChandrasekar

Why do we need the 'A'?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hallux
Hallux
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It's the "to" in the (more nearly literal, awkward, but revelatory) English translation,

"TO my friends, reading in the library pleases them."

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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Sooo... why do I need the "les" in here?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulmexicodf

its an object for the verb gustar. it basically answers the question "who likes it".

The basic sentence is:

(A mis amigos) les gusta leer (en el biblioteco)

A mis amigos = gives more information about "les"

en el biblioteco = givers more information about "leer"

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JulietteHa20

Why do we need A. I was marked wrong because I left out A

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitchell553963

Its the personal "a". You need it whenever you refer to a person, "a mí amigo" or "a mí madre".

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/saratkrs

What would be the English equivalent for this? (for better understanding)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hallux
Hallux
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It's the "to" in the (more nearly literal, awkward, but revelatory) English translation,

"TO my friends, reading in the library pleases them."

I've also heard this referred to as "the personal a" but I believe this is a better explanation. I could be wrong, but it does make sense, if you change the word order around to be more like the target language.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TomasPalme2

I don't think there is an english equivalent for the personal a

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marty646152

Should this not be "leyendo?" This translates as "my friends like to read" not "my friends like reading"

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hallux
Hallux
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I think leyendo is the present progressive tense, and in Spanish it isn't used in this way, but rather they use the infinitive.

It's just one of the differences between English and Spanish.

As was explained to me, in standard Castilian Spanish, the present progressive is exclusively used to mean that something is happening RIGHT THEN. So if someone interrupts you while you're reading, and you look up, and he asks you what you're doing, and you say, "I'm reading," (in Spanish,) technically you're lying, because you're not reading... you're talking to the person who is interrupting you.

In the Spanish spoken in the US and Mexico, this rule has softened, apparently, in colloquial, day-to-day Spanish because of the influence of the English usage.

But more importantly, in Spanish, they use the infinitive here. That is all.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel825557

Why can't it be "leen" instead of "leer"?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ultrahob
Ultrahob
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Because "reading" in this sentence is a noun - "My friends like [the action of] reading" (noun) and not "My friends are reading" (verb)

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel825557

Why is the "A" in front necessary?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yydelilah

What's wrong with "mis amigos gustan leer en la biblioteca"?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danibenmoshe

But why not "gustan", I mean, we are talking about "them"

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hallux
Hallux
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The infinitive "leer" (the activity that is reading, or "to read") is the thing doing the verb, "gusta," and the speaker's friends "mis amigos" are the objects receiving the action, (being pleased). The "A" in the front, sometimes called the "personal a" is I believe the equivalent of the word, "to" in the expression, "to my friends". Again, (cutting and pasting from my own earlier response...)

"To my friends, reading in the library pleases them."

Broken down, it goes something like:

To my friends - A mis amigos

pleasing to them - les gusta

is reading (to read) in the library - leer en la biblioteca.

It doesn't work perfectly, but it should be helpful.

You'd use gustan if it weren't a single activity that were pleasing to them, but some plural noun, perhaps dibujos de las casas. Por ejemplo:

My friends like the drawings of houses. A mis amigos les gustan los dibujos de las casas.

Here, the things that are pleasing are the drawings of houses, (plural,) so "gustan" would be appropriate.

When using a gerund, a verb used as a noun to stand in for some activity, I believe it's pretty much always treated as singular.

The only difference it would make if there were one friend or two or more, is that "A mis amigos" would become "A mi amigo". The rest remains the same in both cases.

2 weeks ago
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