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https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris

"Mejor hablo con él": "I speak better with him" or "I better speak with him"?

BarbaraMorris
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https://www.duolingo.com/comment/551731 (Mejor hablo con él)

The official correct answer is "I better speak with him", which is colloquial for "I had better speak with him", and means "I should speak with him".

Another accepted answer is "I speak better with him".

Are both these interpretations possible from the Spanish sentence?

4 years ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
Mod
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I would interpret "Mejor hablo con él" as "Better that I speak with him" or "I better speak with him" but it's casual. I might even use the subjunctive: Mejor hable con él. When "mejor" comes first in a phrase, it's describing the entire phrase: Mejor (hablo con él).

To say "I speak better with him" you'd say "Hablo mejor con él". When "mejor" follows a verb, it's describing that verb. (Hablo mejor) con él.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/remoonline
remoonline
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From English standpoint, both versions are not synonymous. In Spanish, sometimes we have flexibility to move words around. So for a Spanish speaker will Mejor hablo con él and Hablo mejor con él have the same meaning?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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This says that the adverb can also go before the verb. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/qt/adverbplaceqt.htm It says "An adverb that modifies a verb usually is placed afterward. (If it comes before the verb, it is usually to add emphasis.)"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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Searching on https://books.google.com/ngrams in English books the last 500 years neither "I better speak with" or "I speak better with" appears in English books in google's database. That confirms the colloquial part of this anyway. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4306174 At that link user palocortado (maybe a Spanish native?) thinks the Spanish is also colloquial. "mejor hablo con" does not appear in Spanish books in google's database. I could not find the sentence in the Spanish to English tree.

4 years ago