"She used to call a hotel."
Translation:Ella llamaba a un hotel.
Biolinguo's comment here is... not quite "wrong", but somewhat misleading. The imperfect past by itself can convey "[subj] used to [verb]" in the sense of doing something continuously or repeatedly. Applying "soler" means that they did it regularly, frequently, or habitually. You can use it as a translation of the English prompt here, but only if you really intend to emphasize that she called the hotel often.
I have liked and agreed with all your other comments.
Suele does include "usually" but solía includes it less.
Why else does exist:
A menudo solía (often used to)
A veces solía (sometimes used to)
... como anteriormente solía ocurrir a menudo.
(... as previously used to often occur.)
Cuando estaba enfermo mi madre a veces solía evitarme fuera de la escuela.
(When I was sick my mother sometimes used to keep me out of school.)
If solía included "usually" to great extent, then "a menudo solía" would be redundant.
If solía included "usually" to great extent, then "a veces solía" would be contradictory.
I thought about it more and you are definitely right in the case of "solía fumar" (used to smoke).
But it is not always that emphatic.
In general soler is too slippery to be captured by any single English word or phrase, and I don't disagree that it can mean things that wouldn't come across as "usually" in English. But for this specific case, because the imperfect past already can convey the English sentence adequately, using the extra word seems very likely to be for the purpose of emphasizing the idea that the calling was done usually / habitually / customarily.
To be sure, you'd need to know the speaker's intonation, and more of the conversational context.
Gracias y ahora de nuevo, me gustan todos tus comentarios. :-)
(Thanks and now once again, I like all of your comments.)
Auros, thank you for the link to soler. It was very helpful. It is the first time I have seen this word in my DL lessons. Also, thank you for including translations with your discussion.
I followed your suggestion and I think your levels very good for 3 languages.
She used to call a hotel = Ella solía llamar a un hotel
The verb "soler":
Presente ------ Pretérito Imperfecto
Yo suelo beber té = I usually drink tea --- Yo solía beber té = I used to drink tea
- Tú sueles beber té = You usually drink tea ---Tú solías beber té = You used to drink tea
- Él suele beber té = He usually drinks tea --- Él solía beber té = He used to drink tea
- ... = ... ---------- ... = ...
I learnt from a post in another lesson that when you call a hospital (for example) you are actually calling someone in the building and not the building itself hence the use of the personal a. This helps me remember it.
It's because the object is accompanied by an indefinite article, it happens often when the object is being modified by un or algún.
I thought the personal a was used for family and friends, but not for a person that is not known well. Is it possible that the a here means she used to call TO the hotel?
- She used to call a hotel = Ella solía llamar a un hotel
- She usually calls a hotel = Ella suele llamar a un hotel
- She was calling a hotel = Ella estaba llamando a un hotel
- She called a hotel = Ella llamó a un hotel / Ell llamaba a un hotel
The verb "soler" means something like, "to be wont to, to have a habit of".
"Ella solía llamar a un hotel," would be like, "She used to be in the habit of calling a hotel."
Unless you want to specifically emphasize the idea that she used to call the hotel regularly, you don't need soler. The imperfect tense by itself can convey that she did something continuously or repeatedly over a past time.
Your good self and Rspreng are lights that guide us through the darkness. Thank you.
Auros; Gracias. Your comments were welcome! In another section I pointed out that soler could be used because I had more than one translation that agreed that it was a good translation but now I'm not so sure. I don't want to use it if it is not a good translation. Can a another native speaker help? Gracias
Duolingo doesn't even address soler in its exercises. It's not as important as the glaring omission of an exercise dedicated to verbs that work like gustar, but it's a verb used a lot by native speakers.