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Is this "me tengo que" instead of "yo tengo que" because of the verb despertarse?
Yes The 'tengo' is the yo form and yes the me is used because it stands for 'myself' which is not translated into English. Some verbs in English lost there reflexiveness a long time ago, but they can still be reflexive in Spanish. Have you ever heard anyone say 'sit yourself down'? That is reflective back onto the person doing the sitting. To me, most people do not say 'sit yourself down'. Any way, I digress...
I put "I have to wake myself up at six." It was marked wrong. I thought the same as you, that the "myself" was reflexive. By the way, "I have to wake myself up at six" is a reflexive English sentence, and it is perfectly respectable. English speakers never bother to say it because they intuitively use fewer words whenever possible. Does anyone know if this is a legitimate translation? If it is, I will report that it should be counted as correct.
There is a subtle difference in the meaning between the sentences.
(1) I have to wake [up] at 6. Six is the time at which I need to be awake. It really doesn't matter how that is accomplished. And ...
(2) I have to wake myself at 6. This could mean the same as (1), or it could mean that I have to do the waking myself, somehow without help or external assistance.
I think that the meaning of the verb despertarse (me [tengo que] despertar, in the given sentence) is more like in sentence (1).
Without the me you would be waking someone else up at six, and he sentence would need a direct object. The idea behind reflexive verbs is that the action is done by one, to one's self, but I think always adding 'myself'. (this morning I shaved. This morning I shaved myself) is redundant. I don't see the point that if I don't say 'myself' it means someone else is doing the waking, or the shaving.
I would add that arturo above is wrong with that "myself, I have to..." formulation. The 'me' in front of tengo que is exactly the same as the 'me' tacked on the end of despertar. It is just the case that a pronoun (me, you, it, etc) can go before the auxiliary verb or joined onto the end of the infinitive - to give another example:
lo puedo hacer = puedo hacerlo = I can do it.
That's because some forward-thinking individual reported that their answer, which was the same as yours, should be accepted and DL fixed it. It's frustrating that so many users just use the forums for complaining when they could report it and perhaps have the omitted acceptable translation added. Thanks for your comment.
Please read what rspreng says above about reflexive pronouns and verbs. Also, the me is used because it stands for 'myself' which is not translated into English. Some verbs in English lost there reflexiveness a long time ago, but they can still be reflexive in Spanish. despertar(se) in this model sentence means to wake oneself up. A lot of experts call these type of verbs pronominal instead of reflective because there are cases were the reflective/pronominal verb doesn't reflect back on oneself.
I don't know if you are familiar with this subject or not, but if you aren't you may do a internet search and there is a massive amount of material out there.
What is the difference between 'at 6' and 'by 6' other than at being exact. In English they are used interchangeably (or at least I do) as I have never actually ever had to wake up at the exact moment. The time is usually the latest time you have to be up before, therefore the use of the word 'by' rather than 'at'.
I would never wake by 6 naturally, so I must use an alarm that is set to wake me at six. "By" conveys that there is an open expanse time in which you might already have woken. "At" conveys that you were (almost certainly) asleep during that expanse.
I love this type of nuance that can be conveyed in very very tiny words. :-D
Are you talking about the Spanish? Because Ï have to wake up TO THE six is definitely not good English. Spanish requires the use of an article before the hour in constructions like this, English doesn't (and as a matter of fact, disallows it.) "A"can mean to, but in this case, it also means at, since that is the preposition we use in English. When it comes to prepositions, and to a lesser extent use of articles, there really is little or no one to one correspondence between any two languages. Even Portuguese and Spanish have differences, and they are about as close as you can come, and still have two different languages.