"Veo a un hombre y a una mujer."

Translation:I see a man and a woman.

December 16, 2012

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rezakoushanfar

Why should we use "a" before un hombre and una mujer?

December 16, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

This is called "the personal a."

In Spanish, when the direct object is a person, it is preceded by the preposition "a." This word has no English translation, but it is required. For example "Yo veo Luis" is incorrect -- the correct translation of "I see Luis" is "Yo veo a Luis." However, you would say "Yo veo una silla" ("I see a chair") and not "Yo veo a una silla."

In case you're like me (who didn't know much about grammar before I started learning languages), the direct object "is the noun or pronoun that receives the action of the verb." For example, "cheese" is the direct object in the sentence "I eat cheese".

So, here are some more examples of the personal a in Spanish:

  1. Ella ama a Pedro (she loves Pedro)
  2. Ella ama los árboles (she loves trees)
  3. Yo muevo una silla (I move a chair)
  4. Yo muevo a Juan (I move Juan)
December 16, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ulgane

great explanation, just needs to be included in the notes in the notes so people have an actual grammar clue before they get started on it ;)

April 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Molly.ESK

Wow! Great explanation! I agree with ulgane, a note would have been great. :)

December 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheAshleyYoyo

This is an excellent piece of information that we ought to be learning alongside our regular practicing exercises on Duolingo. That's cleared up my problem with "the possessive a" really nicely: thanks :D

February 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sufri

Does this apply to el nino and la nina too? what about their plural forms?

December 28, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

Yes.

December 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

"Looked at a man" is in the past tense. In Spanish, it would be "Vi a un hombre".

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clawedinvader

In answer to 'gogobera' and 'joshstudyspanish' (I can't reply to your posts) - I think that 'look at' would use the verb 'mirar' rather than 'ver', from what I understand 'ver' basically means 'see' whereas 'mirar' means 'look at' (they are similar meanings, but different), so I think that "I look at a man" would be "(Yo) miro a un hombre" (but the 'a' is the 'personal a', not the 'at a') and "I look at a chair" would be "(Yo) miro una silla" (without the 'personal a').

I am not 100% certain on this, but I am fairly sure that I am right. It would be nice it someone could clarify or correct my answer as appropriate :)

May 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gogobera

How about "I look at a man" or "I am looking at a man"?

I also recall this "personal a" being used for people's pets, according to a discussion elsewhere on DL.

March 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joshstudyspanish

Thanks for your great explaination. But I got the same question as from gogobera, -How about " I look at a man''. ?

May 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gogobera

To reply to 'clawedinvader' (whom I also cannot reply to): we hear from Luis that when the direct object is a person, we use the Spanish 'a,' which makes some sense -- arbitrary, but it makes sense, just like most linguistic rules. The question is that 'a' pulls double duty as both meaning "the object is a person" and the preposition "at."

What if a sentence needs to communicate that the action is at a person!? We need 'a' for it being a person and 'a' for it being "at" them.

Of course, I imagine that the answer is that we use 'a' to indicate a person is the object, we use 'a' to indicate the preposition "at," and, finally, we can use 'a' to provide a preposition for "at a person," without any additional effort or linguistic hurdles.

June 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/extravelblogger

Great explanation! Really helps a lot. This is what I like about duolingo, any gaps in knowledge are readily filled in by anyone knowledgeable enough.

April 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jschaap

That is a wonderful explanation. Thank you.

November 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dbryant036

Thank thou Luis. That one threw me for a loop. It isn`t discussed anywhere before the translation comes up.

December 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ardymusgame

Thank you so much, that explains a lot. I was starting to get frustrated seeing "a" in these sentences and not knowing why.

December 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/seelian

so for my understanding it shld be.

a will appears after verb and before noun which is alive. ex. animal. peoples.

a wont appear after verb and before noun* which is not alive like furniture, food. (plants shld b consider as alive object but it is exceptional which is without a?)

it is correct?

December 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraMorris

It's not as broad as all things that are alive. It's mainly for people, but it can also used for pets (which we also have personal relationships with).

Veo la tortuga.

Veo a tu perro.

December 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jgold66

What happens when speaking to "you". Ex: "I see you", would that be "Yo veo a tu"? I know "I love you" can be "te amo" so, does the "a" get removed in reflexive forms?

January 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Santi_Minstrel

I see you == Te veo [a ti]

This is the full chart, when using the "direct complement" (direct object):

Me veo [a mí]

Te veo [a ti]

Lo veo [a él / a ello]

La veo [a ella]

Nos veo [a nosotros]

Os veo [a vosotros]

Los veo [a ellos / a ustedes]

Las veo [a ellas]

Typical mistake even in Spaniards: confusing direct and indirect complements

Le veo [a él / a usted], Les veo [a ellos / a ustedes]

The mistake is so spread that it has been tolerated, but not considered right, the example above. Le & les have their own grammatical function different to lo & los.

July 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolinahrd

if you want to learn more about de COD (complemento objeto directo) and COI (complemto objeto indirecto) there's a good explanation in this link: http://www.practicaespanol.com/es/objeto-directo-e-indirecto/art/208/

December 20, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Graham-

You need the "a" when referring to a person (in any way) as the direct object. This also applies to pets and occasionally other things you're personifying or expressing a personal relationship with.

You don't use it with forms of tener in the sense of having/possessing something (e.g. tengo hijos). But you do still use it in other senses such as (tengo a mis hijos en el coche).

June 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gnorian

I notice it is pronounced: "Veo a un hombre YA una mujer"? I listened to it many times, and it seems that y and a are prounced as ya? Is that correct?

November 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Santi_Minstrel

No. The sounds are linked, but they remain different words.

November 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gnorian

Glad to know that the sounds are linked.

November 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LauritaPepita

Why would a be used twice in a row? The clue says a means to, so it only makes sense that "Veo a un hombre y a una mujer" would mean "I see to a man and to a woman" seriously!

June 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Graham-

The "clue" isn't a clue, it's a literal translation of the word. However, in this context, it's special, more than just its literal translation, read the other answers if you want to know how.

June 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tminderhout

It is needed only for Person (human) as direct object and not animals or any other direct object (animate or inanimate), is that correct?

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

Animals can be personalized too.

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tminderhout

Luis thank you. I just saw an example of animals in the exercises!

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraMorris

Is it strictly required to use the "a" for "una mujer" here, or could the "a" for "un hombre" also cover "una mujer"? (Veo a [un hombre y una mujer].)

November 24, 2013
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