Spanish Grammar Questions
Does "he estado estudiando" mean "I have been studying"? What is this tense called?
Can you use "extrañar" towards anything, or only people?
Can you use "gustar" or "encantar" toward people to show affection less than love? How would you say this?
Is there any way to say "it" as a subject? Or is "it is nice" always "es bueno"?
Thank you so much for any help!
1)Does "he estado estudiando" mean "I have been studying"? What is this tense called?
This tense is called Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto and it is formed by haber + estar. It isn't usual in Spanish.
2)Can you use "extrañar" towards anything, or only people?
You can use it towards anything. I'm from Spain, I'm living in México and Yo extraño el sol de Sevilla.
3)Can you use "gustar" or "encantar" toward people to show affection less than love? How would you say this?
A lot of people use "gustar" to means less than fall in love, it's right. When you say "Me gustas mucho", you are talking about physic or about an aspect of her/him, but it's not love.
You use "Encantar" when talk about person with magnetism. Anybody can "encantar" you.
4)Is there any way to say "it" as a subject? Or is "it is nice" always "es bueno"? In almost all spanish sentences there are a verb. You say "es bueno", but the subject is elliptic: "(él) es bueno". Spanish speakers use a lot of the elliptical subject.
You can substitute "it" for: "esto","eso" or "él".
Sorry for my English, I hope I've helped you but If you have some question, don't hesitate to ask to me!
The only thing about "encantar" is that it has the literal meaning "to enchant", and then it has the usual and customary figurative meaning, "to delight". When we say, "I am delighted to meet you", in Spanish, we use this verb.
(I'm a native speaker)
1) Yes, the tense is called Pretérito Perfecto Continuo o Progresivo (Present Perfect Continuous). It's not as important as it is in English but it is (or has become, I don't know) quite usual.
2) Yes. The difference is that in some cases the verb needs to be followed by the preposition "a" and sometimes not. Some examples:
Extraño a... mi familia (indirect object) EDIT: not an indirect object, sorry
Extraño a... mi gato (indirect object) EDIT: not an indirect object, sorry
Extraño... mi casa (direct object)
Extraño... conversar con ellos (direct object)
3) It's probably different according to each country. Very complicated, lol. Usually if you want to say you like someone, for instance "I like your friends" you say "tus amigos me caen bien". "Caer bien" is, obviously, a colloquialism.
At least in my country, as jordanwoodsy1 suggested, it wouldn't be a good idea to say "Me gustas" (in Argentinian "Me gustás") unless you're in a date or something and you're feeling very confident, lol. "Él me gusta" is something you definitely don't want to say about someone's boyfriend/husband. "Te quiero" o "Los quiero" is something you can say to anybody that you love without sounding ridiculous ("Te amo" is too romantic, "Los amo" is too over-the-top).
4) You must know "it" doesn't have an exact translation in Spanish. In some sentences (impersonal predicative) it's impossible to add a pronoun:
It is raining = Está lloviendo
In other cases you can, but it's still best to drop the pronoun unless you're trying to avoid a misunderstanding:
It is barking (my dog) = Él/Ella está ladrando (mi perro/a)
It is good = Es bueno/a
EDIT: I mean "It is good" as in "How do you like my book?" "It is good" (¿Qué te parece mi libro? Es bueno) and not as in "It is good to eat healthy food" (Es bueno comer comida sana)
And finally, there are the cases in which you must always translate the pronoun it with some Spanish equivalent:
I need to fix it (my cell phone) = Necesito arreglarlo (mi teléfono celular)
I need to fix it (my computer) = Necesito arreglarla (mi computadora)
He has dedicated his life to it = Ha dedicado su vida a ello
But "caer bien Luis" is not like " me cae Luis". The first is not about soul and the second sounds more like someone will have sex with Luis.
About "it": "It is raining = Está lloviendo", it is a dangerous example because the verb Llover in spanish is impersonal but to be don't.
When you say "I need to fix it (my cell phone) ", "it" substitute to my cell phone, you can use both: "Necesito arreglar mi celular" or "Necesito arreglarlo".
About "It is good to eat healthy food" , it's a problem with the Spanish. In the sentence "Es bueno comer comida sana", Comer = it because the verb can use as subject. In almost all Spanish sentences are subject, even you can't see. Some times the subject is a subordinate sentence.
We don't say "me cae" in my country, I don't know what that means. If I wanted to say that I like Luis, I would say "Me cae bien Luis" (with the adverb) and that would mean that we can be friends. It's colloquial but it's the only way we say it, that's why I wouldn't call it "slang" (lunfardo).
About the example "It is raining", that's why I gave so many examples of the different cases you can find, to give a proper idea of the complexity of the matter. I did say this example in particular was impersonal predicative and I meant the Spanish sentence, very basic and very important. I thought it was clear that each of the examples I gave were different and tried to give the reasons why.
About the cell phone example... lol, of course you can use the noun... who would ever think I'm saying that you can't?
"Es bueno comer comida sana", I didn't say there was no subject... That sentence is the same as "Comer comida sana es bueno", I added this example as an exception (read again) but I didn't explained why because I had already written so much and thought it was best to wait until somebody asked about it before I went on explaining. I added this exception trying to make clear that "Es bueno" doesn't always appear in sentences with elliptic subject ("sujeto tácito o elíptico", something already mentioned by Nachogb). I wanted to avoid confusion but I ended up realizing that all I could do was to give an idea about the many different cases to consider.
Maybe I failed to make myself clear. It's still really hard for me to make myself clear when I'm writing in English, I still have problems with it, but I do it anyway so I can to learn from my mistakes. Finally, I hope I haven't make too many mistakes in this comment, I still do that when I'm writing too fast.
I just noticed after reading that comment again, that I had the same paragraph twice (the one about the healthy food, starting with the word "EDIT"), one was right and the other was wrong. You can guess what happened, I suck at editing my own comments (I shouldn't write SO MUCH). So, I think you were criticizing the repeated paragraph that I forgot to remove after writing it again properly. It must have got everyone confused. You were not seeing ghosts, I apologize.
I love the "content" [el contenido] of your answer: it is very-well referenced. The only thing I might say, at all, is that, as a native of the USA, we always referred to that "tense" as "the Present-Perfect Progressive". (And, yes, back in the day, there was a "hyphen", in there, too). The word PROGRESSIVE is how our grammar books described it. May I ask you a question, here, Ana? How do you format your responses, here in this Discussion section of "duolingo"? I can never get mine to look like yours do. (i.e., all of my sentences always "run together", even though I write them in the way that yours appear)......... Sorry, Ana. There is one more thing that I noticed: to add the "personal 'a'" does NOT turn what follows into an "indirect object" [complemento indirecto].
Thanks for the tip about the different name of the tense, it's similar enough for me to understand it's the same, searching in Google I found results for both names but I'll keep that in mind.
I didn't think "a mi familia" was the indirect object because it has the "a" preposition, but because it answers to the question "¿A QUIÉN extraño yo?" instead of the question "¿QUÉ extraño yo?". That's a very simple and silly rule that I should forget, you're right about this so I stand corrected. I should read more about this, thanks. :)
"La pregunta "¿Qué?" El método tan difundido por la escuela tradicional de preguntarle al verbo "¿Qué?" resulta desaconsejable. "¿Qué?" es una pregunta cuya respuesta puede ser bien un sujeto, bien un complemento directo inanimado."
And about the space between paragraphs, I just hit enter twice ;)
Hi Ana, keep an eye of this graphic! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Tiempos_verbales_del_indicativo.png They are all the spanish indicativo tenses.
I'll have a go at the bits I know :) Take my answers with a grain of salt. Hopefully a native speaker will drop by.
"Does "he estado estudiando" mean "I have been studying"? What is this tense called?"
Yes, you can say this, although it seems to be a much more popular tense in English. Not sure what it's called.
"Can you use "gustar" or "encantar" toward people to show affection less than love? How would you say this?"
I think so, especially with gustar (encantar is stronger than gustar, so might imply love, I'm not sure). You would say it like with anything else. e.g. Me gustas, me gusta ella, a ella le gusta él. However like in English "liking" someone can have romantic connotations too.
"Is there any way to say "it" as a subject? Or is "it is nice" always "es bueno"?"
If you ever need the subject pronoun for "it", it's ello or ella (depending on the gender of the noun), but it's not needed very often.
A Spanish teacher (young guy) told me that if he liked a girl's body - or just simply her looks - he would use gustar; if he liked her for her soul (for want of a better word), he would use caer (in Mexico, anyway.) He explained that gustar was for physical things (taste, touch, looks, etc.), while caer was more spiritual. Since caer is to fall, I think of it as something like I'm falling for Juan - don't care if he doesn't have movie star looks - he's great, anyway.
It's my first time that I have listened about "caer". I am from Spain but I'm living in México (Veracruz and DF) since 2010 and I never have listened the verb "caer". Maybe is a slang, but not popular. Gustar can to use to body, looks or soul.
Sorry about the example but..."me gusta cómo eres conmigo, pero eres fea y no quiero estar contigo".
I think you're probably correct that it is slang. The teacher, as I said, was a very young man. I did overhear the word used elsewhere in Mexico by a young girl who was talking to her friends on the beach. If I remember correctly, she said something like, "me cae Luis". The teacher was from Oaxaca; the girl on the beach was in the Puerto Vallarta area. Slang changes so I should say that the discussion in Oaxaca was six years ago; the beach one probably about 20 years ago.
Indeed. Slang changes, over time. What I, myself, do--and which I have done, since I can remember--is to translate, literally (i.e., in the literal word-for-word sense), the phrase or sentence: just to see if there is something "literal", in it. Then, after that, I see what they are "actually" saying, which may or may not coincide with the "literal translation". (If it does "not" coincide--and after taking into consideration the differences in syntax, between the two languages--what we're dealing with, then, is slang, or even an idiomatic expression). Caveat: my way of doing things is just unique to myself: I don''t offer it, here, as a recommendation--
"Me cae Luis" [awkward sounding]
"Me cae bien Luis"" ["Louis 'falls well', with me"]
In other words, "Louis makes a favorable impression, on me."
Or, in the English slang of 40 years ago: " I dig Louis!"
"Me cae bien Luis." = "I dig Louis."
Hi. We always learned that "it" is in the verb. The following verb conjugations serve to illustrate:........... IT is (está) in the house (en la casa)............. IT serves (the purpose) well (sirve bien)............... IT functions better (funciona mejor).............. IT is good! (Está bien!) .... also, (Es bueno = it is good)--(depending on the context)
When I learn English, my teachers have said to me that "it" is the neutral persona. In Spanish we have masculine and feminine. So when you say La casa es amarilla. Ella fue roja. In English we must translate The house is yellow. It was red.
It's like German, where there are three genres.