"The president would have written about her life before dying."
Translation:La presidenta habría escrito sobre su vida antes de morir.
I guess potentially the president could have been wanting to write about someone else's life prior to them dying; but it seemed like a trick question that they explicitly said "her life," leading you to believe it should be "la presidente." That would have been a better learning opportunity.
Was the ambiguity deliberate (to make us think about it) or was it just careless? Perhaps it is a hangover from DL's original clunky attempt to make it seem like a game. Not such a great game when it leaves so many beginners befuddled.
Yes, in real life it would either be written with more care and less scare, or it would have appropriate context to indicate who is "the President" and who is "her" and which one of them died. As it is, it is unnecessarily confusing. It was the exercise that died! Too many like this dampens the enthusiasm and drives keen students elsewhere.
I think that it is probably unintended. The translation listed above is the one most would expect. But actually in this case the only problem would be not accepting all translations. In the Spanish, both his and her are su, so it is only the gender of the President that can change. But I do think we know that it is the president who died in this case, whether the president was the same as she or not.
Well sure enough, Lynette, you and I might think the implied alternative of the male president writing about the life she led after she died sounds somewhat strange, but we both know that DL has given us weirder sentences than that!
Absolutely. But actually I like some of the weird ones. My mother was a grammar nerd who loved to diagram sentences. I always thought that was silly until I learned Chomsky's method. I would love to diagram some of these sentences because ambiguous sentences can have different diagrams based on meaning. Unfortunately I find I have absolutely forgotten how to do it.
In English we use "-ing" to make both participles/adjectives ("she was dying.") and gerunds/nouns ("dying is sad.") In Spanish the "-endo" form is only for the participle, and the infinitive is used if it is functioning as a noun. Hopefully that makes sense.
Thank you Mucket. That is an excellent explanation of a potentially confusing subject.