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"Él es mi único hermano."

Translation:He is my only brother.

5 years ago

87 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JSBanana

Why not “Él es mi hermano único”? When the adjective is an objective description (and I think being someone’s only brother is rather objective), doesn’t it follow the noun it describes?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rickydito

JSBanana: "Limiting adjectives" go in front of the noun. Limiting adjectives include adjectives like: alguno some/ bastante enough/ cuanto as much/ demasiado too much/ mucho a lot/ ninguno no, none/ poco a little/ suficiente sufficient, enough/ varios various, some, a few/ all numbers//////////////// reference: [http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/20]

"Él es mi hermano único" would mean "He is my unique brother". The meaning changes if placed after the noun. reference: Gran Diccionarion Oxford, page 836.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Abdul9000

Thanks bro

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeWeems

Clear and concise. Very much appreciated.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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But "He is my only brother." and "He is my unique brother." have the SAME meaning. (ETA: They can, I mean.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alchz
Alchz
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Not really. 'Only brother' implies that I don't have another brother, whereas 'unique brother', although it makes less sense in English, could imply that I have many brothers, and he has a unique personality/character, etc.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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It COULD mean the second thing. That is a modern colloquial meaning of ‘unique’ in English. But it could also mean the first thing, which is the historic meaning of the word (and one that certain prescriptivists will insist upon).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Casiquire

DL is trying to teach functional spoken language. Imagine how confused you'd be if they suddenly started mixing in historical and uncommon usage of words. I'm glad they don't accept the historical meaning you're fighting for. The last thing I want when I go to Spain is to sound like I magically appeared from the 16th century.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lamujerasincera

Unique means unusual dustinctive or strange, to me, depending on the facial expression the person makes when they say the word. :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3
mskycc3
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I'd say that this usage of "unique" to mean "unlike any other" is far past colloquial and is now standard.

Any language that is spoken by a large number of people will naturally be dynamic and always changing. While some things in life, such as morals, are absolute, language is not. Correct grammar and word usage is more descriptive than prescriptive. If most people use a word a certain way, then that's what it means. Prescriptivists can't force words to retain their original meanings. If they could, we would still be speaking Old English.

However, although one can't be prescriptive about the correct way to say something, one can be prescriptive about a better way to say something. Once one embraces that language is always changing, one can set about doing one's own small part to change the language for the better.

For example, I like to say "fishes" and "sheeps" as the plurals for "fish" and "sheep" in an attempt to nudge the currently accepted, ambiguous plurals out of common usage. If I (along with any like-minded people) succeed, then English will be slightly more effective at communicating clearly (although the opportunity for making jokes based off of this ambiguity may be reduced).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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@mskycc3 : You are certainly correct, but judging from the massive downvotes to all of my comments here, there are many people who don't even want to be reminded that the older meaning exists at all. I would never tell people not to use the newer meaning, but to censor any discussion of the older meaning is quite strange (and not the way people usually vote on Duolingo either).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
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@lamujerasincera: Right, that's the modern colloquial meaning. You will still find purists who insist that it absolutely does not mean that. In any case, you should still also know its older meaning: one and only.

It's fairly well explained here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unique Your meaning is #5, which could not be achieved with ‘only’; the others are absolute and could be achieved with ‘only’ (with suitable modifications).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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@Casiquire: I'm not talking about 16th-century Spanish, I'm talking about 20th-century English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JSBanana

Thank you, Rickydito. That clears it up for me.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cf2424

Can sólo and único be used interchangeably? Or are there certain situations where you would use one versus the other?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/greenmachine19

Yes. The problem I'm noting with this though is that "único" is not commonly used as "only", whereas "sólo" is specifically "only". This sentence would likely read to a Spanish speaker as "unique brother". Probably sounding like the brother is special in some way versus the only one the person has.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisagnipura

Hola Amigo GreenMachine: "único hermano" = only brother/////////////////"hermano único" = unique brother. (See comment from "deactivated user" , above.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

Are you saying that "He is my only brother" is best translated by the words "El es mi hermano solo?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3
mskycc3
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I don't think that's what Lisa is saying, but I would also like to know the answer to this.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michisjourdi
michisjourdi
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I think this is more like one of those context specific cases.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ginnyweasley28

My first thought was: He is my unicorn brother! My second thought: Wait a minute, Duo could never be that awesome. Third thought: He is my only brother. Fourth thought: What a boring sentence! Bring on the unicorns! This Duolingdom needs some action.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KLHarris

You are not the only one who thought of unicorns.

There are a couple of anime movies about an extraordinary unicorn named Unico who had the power to make everyone around him happy. But the gods thought that happiness should only come as a reward of years of hard labor and work, so they sent the West Wind down to carry Unico away to the Hills of Oblivion so that he could never make anyone happy. The West Wind dutifully turned the mother unicorn and the rest of the unicorn foals into stone, instantly turning Unico from a unique unicorn into the only unicorn. But she could not bear the thought of condemning an innocent to be eternally forgotten so the West Wind tries to find remote locations where Unico can live, only to have to carry him elsewhere when Unico inadvertently makes the inhabitants happy.

And I managed to use all three of Duo's definitions when describing Unico.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michaeldressner
michaeldressner
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At the time of writing this, ¨He is my only sibling¨ was not deemed an acceptable answer.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rickydito

michael: No, because he may have sisters.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrismerck

Does this sentence imply that the speaker has no sisters?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rickydito

chris: No. He may have sisters, but only one brother.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olivier181978

So how would we say "He is my only sibling". I beleive Michael has a point here. But love to hear some different point of views

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Snoue

can 'el es mi solo hermano' work here too?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisagnipura

Hola Snoue: That just doesn't "sound" right to me, but both Google Translate and SpanishDict.com translate say yes, that works. Personally, I would not say it that way, but ............???????????

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Snoue

hola lisa, why do you say so? solo can serve as only sometimes too right?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisagnipura

Hola Snoue: I am just saying that I would not say it that way due my experience living in Mexico and Honduras, I have never heard it that way in real lilfe. But, as I said, the translation sites do use it. Yes, "solo" can mean "only". I am not saying it is wrong, just that I would not say it personally. CHAU

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Snoue

Oh, ok thank you, i need as much help from native speakers as i can get. Gracias

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AbraxunsIllusion

Why would it say buddy under the word, then say it is wrong?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michisjourdi
michisjourdi
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I think sometimes Duolingo is a little off with their synonyms.

I noticed that two of the synonyms were buddy/mate, so I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that it's possible that your best friend could be your hermano, but that in this instance, the speaker is referring to their actual brother. (He is my only brother).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AbraxunsIllusion

That's true, it has marked a few others wrong for me when I didn't use the top choice when you hover over the word. (I actually keep a log of words I learn. If anyone is interested, they could give me their email and I could send it to them.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

When the program offers dicey translations, it is trying to narrow down the contexts in which more specific (aka "limiting") translations can be used. I always pick these, even if I will lose a heart, because one purpose of the program is to practice and learn. Not only do my Spanish skills get better, but Duolingo has better choices for the learners who will follow me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

I get the feeling that when the context is unclear then the least specific translation is best. So, in the context of two friends using slang, "Hey, bro, what's happening?", a translation to "pal" or "buddy" might be appropriate.

In the workplace, it is not appropriate to translate "Lo siento, hermano" to "Excuse me, pal" even if the boss is your own brother."Perdoneme, jefe' (Excuse me, sir) is preferable because of the context.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pkun66

sibling … what's mean?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheRoofRabbit
TheRoofRabbit
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Gender neutral noun in reference to one's brother or sister

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RitikaShan

@duolingo, Could you add a feature to search the word youre looking for in comments? Would be pretty useful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3
mskycc3
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If you're using the browser version (website), try pressing Ctrl+F.

But for the app, I agree: Duo please add this feature.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatNazarian

I said "He is my unique brother." Isn't that correct?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisagnipura

Hola MatNazarian: No. "único" changes meaning when in front or after the noun. In front, it means "only"; after, it means "unique". So, if you want to say "He is my unique brother", you would write: "Él es mi hermano único".

CHAU

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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Yes, it is correct, if by ‘unique’ you mean ‘only’, and it should be reported.

But ‘unique’ can also mean ‘unusual’, so the English is ambiguous. Some prescriptivists insist that ‘only’ is the unique meaning of ‘unique’, so for them it is unambiguous. Apparently Duolingo has gone the other way, and believes that ‘unusual’ is the unique meaning of ‘unique’, since they don't accept it here.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/claybird121

can't only also be "solo"?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duomail
Duomail
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There's not so real difference to me whether before or after “hermano“ (“unico“). The former is just more usual to mean “only“ (adjective).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AustinGlyn2

Whats the difference between soló/á and único/a?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caseyataos

What is the difference between único and sólo

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chucky16140

Why not solo?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pinguinageddon

I read this as "el es mi unicorn" at first.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahS958672

At first i thought it said "unicorn" He is my unicorn brother

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brandon.ri2

WHY NOT "HE IS MY UNIQUE BROTHER"???

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Broncos27
Broncos27
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Because "único" means "only" in Spanish. You might have many unique Brosephs, instead of one Broseph.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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Because Duolingo doesn't know what ‘unique’ means (or can mean). The mistake is in Duolingo's English, so it should be reported. See discussion elsewhere.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/langkuas

I almost wrote unique brother :p

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tampanews

Why is no personal "a" required?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
Mod
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The verb "to be" does not require a personal a.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHender5

I said, He is my unique brother. And it was incorrect. Why is that? I still don't understand

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StuartCox

I miss you Spencer :(

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LEERICHA

Unique is an answer and is considered wrong :( porque no?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizamou

Does "único" have a feminine translation?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/z7mario

I thought that was going to translate to "He is my unicorn brother." I was very confused until I saw the definition.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lovesymbol

Why isn't it "solo"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RubyGeorge28

I like that it says extraordinary in one of the translations!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JosieTenney

And crazy

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mjcm94

Would I also be able to write "El es mi solo hermano" in attempt to mean the same thing, I say this because I find it much easier to remember solo for meaning "only/single" ? Thanks in advance

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/J.Abby

he is my only brother...he is different.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JimLaven

I see there's a translation here but it'd be great if they'd give it to you right when you answer correctly

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chandler11489

I thougt adjectives went after the noun???

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ToddRocket

Why is it unico and not unica since its referring to him, the brother being unique.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheRoofRabbit
TheRoofRabbit
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"Take my arm, take my other leg, take my heart and head too, just give him back! HE'S MY ONLY BROTHER!" - Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vitruvius1
Vitruvius1
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Why not "He is my sole brother" ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kiraya04

Your only brother!? Thats sad. :(

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pedro.Ronaldo

Sometimes its hard to understand nasally speak.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Unknown986874

Can you use "solo" instead

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoJoPotatoHead

I put that "he is my only brother" but it marked it wrong. It said "he is my only sibling."

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Poopa6

Subsrcibe to CaptainPoopa

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ANIKETLEBRON

but I have 5000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 sisters :)

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dufrey1.

there's like one main phrase i wanted to be able to say but i just need clarification. Does 'Único hablo un poco de español' mean 'I only speak a little bit of spanish'? if not please tell me. Gracias :)

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blas_de_Lezo00
Blas_de_Lezo00
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Él es mi único hermano, ella es mi única hija, but ella es hija única. They are idioms and we cannot change them.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmeAh

He is my unique brother meaning quite distinct or different. Why not? Sure other words can be used but...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3
mskycc3
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"Unique brother" is "hermano único". "Único hermano" means "only bother".

Another user said that this is because "limiting" adjectives come before the noun. I interpret "limiting" to mean "quantitative".

Quantitative adjectives specify the number or amount of something (the quantity). For example: "You have two cars." "He has many cars." "This is my only car."

Qualitative adjectives specify what something is like (its qualities). For example: "You have a big car." "He has a yellow car." "I have an old car."

In Spanish, quantitative adjectives come before the noun, and qualitative adjectives come after the noun.

So "único hermano" means "only brother" (quantitative adjective), and "hermano único" means "unique brother" (qualitative adjective).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blas_de_Lezo00
Blas_de_Lezo00
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Hermano único does not make sense.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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Report it, and read the comments elsewhere on this page.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelSpagnola

How did you learn that many languages!!!! I gave you a lingot TobyBartels

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AronNaidu

Lol gay

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Broncos27
Broncos27
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Can "Broseph" be used for hermano?

4 years ago