Por translates to so many different prepositions. Among them are by and through. Pasar can be used with both, so there is some potential for confusion. But since people seldom would ever say they passed through someone's house I think by is the best translation. If it were an alley which might well be both passed by and passed through, than the Spanish speaker might have to clarify to make the sentence not ambiguous.
A couple of Spanish speakers have told me that "pasa por tu casa" usually means to walk through the house. "I was passing through your house" is accepted.
They said if you wanted to be clear that you were passing by in front of the house on the street or sidewalk, you can say, "Pasaba por delante de tu casa."
However, I did find this song that supports the Duolingo interpretation although it's preterite.
Aún paso por tu casa.
Absolutely. The scenario described definitely only works for the preterite. But I think the user was thinking about por as through and not by, or at least illustrating through. While passing through someone's house is not a usual thing, it can be a repeated thing. I've known people who have rented what is essentially a "granny flat" which was a self contained apartment except that it didn't have its own entrance. You had to "pass through" the owners house to reach it. But that scenario is so rare as to not be one that most people, including the Owl, to even think about with the imperfect pasaba.
You have to remember that these sentences are all without context. That tends to make them seem more sinister at times. If someone were going to drop something off to you but you didn't want them to go out of their way, this would be an extremely simple, non disturbing way to tell you they didn't have to go out of their way.
In many ways and uses, while not actually opposite, bypassed has a very different meaning. In sentences like this to pass by means to pass in front of or in the vacinity of something. It generally implies sort of coincidental circumstances, as in the stereotypical line from television shows, "I was just passing by". To bypass assumes an intension to avoid, go around, or circumvent a physical, procedural or other barrier. As I said, it isn't quite the opposite, but it is substantial different
Actually that is pretty much the same in American English. It would not be commonly said this way any place I have lived, although there are quite a few regions and regional differences in the US. But I have been wondering whether Duo's incentive for adding by is not actually to be more standard, but rather to distinguish between other possible uses of our verb to pass which might be covered by another Spanish verb. Of course, none of the meanings conveyed by verbs like adelantar, aprobar, expulsar, or superar really would likely make any sense in this sentence. But it is not uncommon to use a clarifying element to confirm the meaning you are using, especially in a situation of language learning
Your second assertion is incorrect. The English adverbial particle, "by," is not a redundancy.
The expression, "pass by," is a phrasal verb. The difference between "pass" and "pass by" might be subtle to your ears, and also to my ears. But the difference, however small, is real. The addition of the adverbial particle, "by," might add a small emphasis or the distinction might be larger depending on the sentence.
I am going to make one and a half attempts to show you the difference is real. But some readers might need to study more than one example before they start noticing the difference.
If I "pass by" something, this implies that I passed it completely. In contrast, our interpretation of "the winning race horse passed the second place horse" is more flexible by comparison. I am saying that more than one interpretation is possible. How do we know if we should make the interpretation that the first place horse completely passed the second place horse? We don't know for sure because the sentence is ambiguous in this regard. However, if we add clarification in the next sentence, which uses the same verb without the adverbial particle, the meaning is no longer ambiguous.
- The winning race horse passed the second place horse at the finish line by half a length.
It would be an error to add the adverbial particle to the preceding sentence because this addition would contradict the meaning of the sentence.
I'm not sure where you're from Phillip, but here, in the southern United States, it's the exact opposite. Passing something is to pass it completely as in passing a car or passing someone in a race. Pass by can be pass in front of, can be you stopped and knocked on the door but no one answered, and can even mean you entered their house. Remember, i passed by your house the other day and paid you? I used to pass by your house has an intimate personal feel, whereas i used to pass your house is quite detached like when i worked there i used to pass your house... but it's more of a casual impersonal statement.
The interesting thing about this stream is that there are discussions about por being either by or through, and lots of discussions of the various ways to express the imperfect. But there is no discussion of the alternative translation I would/used to stop by your house. Pasar por can mean to stop by, drop in or "pop into" a place. See definition 5 a-é.
I discovered this the other day, trying to say stopped by. I immediately thought of this sentence. I don't know how common a use it is, but it does seem to make more "sense" here. Has anyone tried those or I was stopping by your house?
I don't know how common a use it is, but it does seem to make more "sense" here.
The way that it makes sense to me is if I take into consideration how the people living in the past liked to apply non-standard meanings to some of the words when they were talking to each other. I have to consider the question of "how did many of our idiomatic expressons originate?"
I will grant you that the Definition(s) number five (items 'a' through 'e') on the SpanishDict web site might not have been intended to represent idiomatic usage of por. But in my eyes, this kind of usage (of por) might be considered idiomatic if you look at it from the perspective that I am describing.
Many of us have already read the rules (rules of thumb) concerning when to choose para and when to choose por. So I might imagine that the following rule is one that you are already familiar with.
- Use para when you are referring to a destination or a final point:
El tren para Lisboa sale en 3 minutos.
― The train to Lisbon leaves in 3 minutes.
Viajo para Colombia.
― I am traveling to Colombia.
MayteStiles below suggests "I used to stop by your house" as an alternative, and another user way down the bottom has suggested "I used to call by your house" is valid.
I can't speak for either's level of knowledge, but I did recently see a Spanish speaker in another similar discussion state that this usage was not only valid, but should even be the primary interpretation.
At the very least it does seem both should be acceptable translations.
Yep, you're right. "Soler" in the past tense is used to express something that "used to" occur habitually, so it should be a perfectly valid option whenever DL gives us a sentence using the "used to" form. Perhaps they do not teach it to avoid confusion, because past imperfect verb forms do not always translate to "used to" eg: "Yo pasaba por tu casa" could translate to "I used to/would pass by your house" or "I was passing by your house" whereas "Yo solía pasar por tu casa" only translates to the former. Again, this does not make using "soler" incorrect in this circumstance, but it does narrow the translation, just as using "Yo estaba pasando ..." would do the same: "I was passing ..."
Duo does use this as of (2-7-19). I actually just saw soler (solía) with the inf. for the first time in the lesson previous to this one. lol. I wasnt even familiar with the word so I had to look it up. I completed the whole Spanish course on here 2x and this go around I'm seeing better sentences; and it seems that the lessons are way more expansive. I'm liking the new Duo. It also helps that since my first run I actually studied up on Spanish grammar & tenses. Much easier to absorb now.
I don't think it's as much that soler is a lazy man's way. I think solía is more definitively I was accustomed to. It is a more pronounced used to in some ways. Certainly it is used in the negative for a different meaning. To say you weren't accustomed to doing something is different from saying that you didn't use to do something. The imperfect already implies the repeated or regular actions, so there is no need for Soler to be used in the past for that. You will see it used in the present tense to describe current strong routines. But even then you will see it most when what you are accustomed to doing is somehow different or can't happen for some reason.
Mim, "would" as a real conditional would look like this in English and Spanish (see end of my comment). One action is conditional upon the other action. In the subject sentence, there is no condition. If you invited me, I would pass by your house. Si me invitaras (past subjuntive, not yet studied), pasaría por tu casa. I would pass by your house on the condition that you invited me.
If you think this is complicated, it only gets worse :-)
"if you invited me" is a simpler and closer rendering than "on the condition that you", although "on" or "under" (US. English) (the) condition that", is good English too.
I don't agree with mimroma. Would is frequenlty and eloquently used in English to give an imperfect feel to a phrase. When we were young we would play together carries the same meaning as When we were young we used to play together. (We should not expect a high level of English from duo's translators, but still, it would be nice if we received that).
I have had, and continue to have an objection to the reliance on used to, but I can explain the rationale. There are times when used to doesn't really add anything to the meaning. For example there is no meaning difference between When I was a child I went to camp every summer and when I was a kid I used to go to camp every summer. Used to for past repetitive events is not required grammatically in English but does always mean that the event was repetitive. This is one of the uses of the imperfect. So translating it with used to is a way of explaining why it is in the imperfect. The act of passing by a house is quite finite. It always has a definite start and end point in time. So normally this would be in the preterite unless it was setting the scene for another passed action. So that's the reasoning. There are two problems with that. One is the English may not use used to. The other is that the literal way to say you used to do something is with the imperfect of the verb soler plus an infinitive verb. Solía trabajar aquí.
In Spanish this statement may also be translated as I used to go/stop by your house. Pasaba also means tto not just go past or pass but to stop at a particular place: [Antes de tomar el bus pasaba siempre a casa de mi novio a saludarlo unos instantes.[
It's a word usage that is causing a lot of confusion. In English we hear "used to" and we tend to think "but no longer." This could be the case of course, but DL is only using "used to" here to say that something has happened at some time in the past, not that it necessarily would no longer happen.
Not in the sense of the English sentence. Por can be translated to around when it means it means in the vacinity of, or by. The "around" that implies a circle is alrededor. Of course another meaning for "going around" is to circumvent or avoid. That would be a verb like evitar.
Literally it would be (Yo) pasaba por tu lugar. But there are perhaps a couple problems with that. First of all, when you say that in English, you really mean either their house/apartment, or in some contexts place of business. I am not sure that the same is true in Spanish. It would be understood, but I don't know how natural it would sound. It is potentially dangerous to try to translate connotations of words.
The second problem is that when I said literally it would be Pasaba, that was mostly Duo speak or at least the structure of a English speaking student of Spanish. Many Spanish students are taught to translate the imperfect as "used to". The problem with that is the verb soler, which is a modal verb which when used with other verbs expresses what is customary or usual. So many people would translate that sentence as Yo solia pasar por tu lugar. (Sorry - I don't have my Spanish Keyboard on this computer to put the tilde over the i in solia). The problem with teaching students that the imperfect means used to is also problematic because it doesn't explain many of the uses of the imperfect, but ignoring this modal verb which is used fairly commonly in Spanish is also a problem.
I don't think they should require by either. I am American and we don't tend to say passing by either, except as a bad excuse for dropping by unannounced I think that the point was actually just to draw attention to which preposition is used, since a preposition would always be required in Spanish. As noted in some comments, pasaba por can also mean passing through, so they may have just wanted to underline that it can mean either.
They're just different wording of the imperfect tense, but both are valid. Commonly you'll have four variations:
I used to pass by
I would pass by
I passed by
I was passing by
The fourth is a scene setter, and different, but the other three do mean the same in the imperfect: "I passed by" does not mean a single event like the preterite, and "I used to pass by" does not necessarily mean "but no longer". Instead, both take the meaning "I would pass by".
A good way to highlight this is to throw in a time related adverb or phrase:
A veces yo pasaba por tu casa - Sometimes I passed / would pass / used to pass by your house.
I might be confused. Maybe you can help me please. I would like to ask you for additional clarification of your answer to the question that you just answered yesterday.
question asked by Ian892568:
How can both be correct?
I can paraphrase the question asked by Ian892568. "How can Duo accept "I used to pass by your house."
This is currently the default solution to this Duolingo exercise. But I am having a problem with accepting Duo's default translation of the exercise because I interpret the Duolingo Spanish sentence in the following way:
Yo pasaba por tu casa.
The difficulty that I am having stems from my understanding that this Spanish sentence does not imply that I no longer pass by your house. I also understand, based on the default English translation to this exercise, that Duo intended for the Spanish sentence of this Duolingo exercise to be interpreted in the Spanish habitual aspect.
quote by jellonz in reply to lynettemcw (who replied to Duazido):
What is probably worth mentioning (for those who share a dislike of, or are confused by, the persistent "used to" imperfect translation) is that in the scenario I have created above "Yo pasaba por tu casa" does not translate to "I used to pass by your house."
In the context of the above quote, my understanding is that jellonz was speaking in the context of setting a scene in the progressive aspect.
(The following edits are in colored font.)
However In contrast, the Duolingo Spanish sentence of this exercise that we are discussing is not intended to be interpreted in the progressive aspect, as I previously explained earlier in this post using different words, words which were illogical (invalid reasoning by me), as I later learned from reading the reply to me from lynettemcw (below).
The problem is that what Duo intends is not always the point. Obviously any translation of the imperfect that works for this sentence works. But they have to show one of the translations, but that doesn't mean they don't accept or even expect the other. Context is what would actually provide the appropriate way to interpret the sentence, so without context they just have to pick one. This same sentence can be used either for background or repeated actions. But I may be missing something because I am not sure exactly what you are asking about.
The problem is that what Duo intends is not always the point. ...
... but that doesn't mean that they don't accept or even expect the other.
True. Thank you for pointing this out to me. You are making me realize that my reasoning was invalid when I tried to base my conclusion about Duo's intention (regarding the aspect) on the fact that the default solution was in the habitual aspect.
quote by lynettemcw:
Obviously any translation of the imperfect that works for this sentence works.
Your conclusion is the same conclusion about the issue that jellonz posted in the reply to Ian892568 three days ago.
Both of us, both Ian892568 and I, are asking the same question in our respective posts. And jellonz already gave a very direct answer to our question (in the reply to Ian892568) when jellonz wrote:
quote by jellonz:
"I used to pass by" does not necesarilly mean "but no longer".
quote by lynettemcw:
But I may be missing something because I am not sure exactly what you are asking about.
You still managed to answer my question despite the entangled nature of the presentation of my post. So, in consideration of the challenging presentation of my post, you did a good job.
The fact that jellonz already answered my question in such a direct fashion might cause you to wonder why I need to ask the same question again. The reason I am (or was) asking for clarification is because I like it when I receive reassurance; I like it when somebody gives me reassurance that I am not confused. I like knowing that you and jellonz have both reviewed this issue and you both agree that Duo's default solution to this exercise is correct.
When I wrote my post, my question was placed in reply to jellonz because I was concerned about the (perceived) possibility that the direct answer in the more recent post by jellonz might be in conflict with the earlier post by jellonz that I quoted in my previous post. So I would be pleased if jellonz simply makes a future reply in order to confirm,
*"I am confirming that I am reviewing my two posts right now and I do not see any conflict between these two posts."
Okay, this all I have to say for now. Thank you again, Lynette.
I do actually disagree with jellonz when he says that "used to" doesn't imply "doesn't any more". I think it really does, and Merriam Webster agrees with me. (See definitions for use 2)
Duo wasn't the first source to use used to for the imperfect, but they don't do a good job of making users who understand the same meaning of used to that Merriam Webster and I do understand that the "but no longer" element must be removed from the meaning to be a good translation for the imperfect.
Yep, no conflict Phillip, I was just saying that in that context "Yo pasaba por tu casa" did not translate to "I used to pass by your house". In another context it could, as Lynette has said.
Lynette, I didn't say that "used to" doesn't imply "doesn't any more". To the contrary, that's exactly what it strongly implies, which is the problem because it doesn't necessarily mean that. I know I've quoted it a lot, but there's a Mitch Hedberg joke:
"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to as well."
I think, for repeated past action, this hints at the best way to treat the Spanish imperfect. That is, as the "I would do" version, rather than the ambiguous "I did" version, or the strongly suggestive "I used to do".
Absolutely, or at least grammatically so. I have actually never encountered a situation where that sentence would really make sense. Maybe por tu jardín. But I am the last person to ever say a sentence is impossible. I have said or heard far too many sentences that I would normally have thought would fit that bill. Actually I used to have a repetitive dream when I was a kid that I ran through a particular house (where I never met that neighbor). It was very specific. I rand into the house, down the stairs and out that back door on my way somewhere without them knowing or at least catching me. As I say....
I don't think that would be an acceptable translation for this sentence... that would be more along the lines of "Yo estuve pasando por tu casa". For this sentence, I'd go with "I used to pass by your house" or "I passed by your house" (not that the latter differs from the preterit form)
No the by is not necessary in English. If Duo doesn't accept it, it would only be because Duo wants you to notice that por has many possible translations in different situations. People seem to only think of it as only meaning for. But in various contexts it can translate as for, through, by, around and near. But since no preposition is required in English you should report it, if it requires one. But do take notice of the point.
I was passing your house is past progressive. This is imperfect which people love to translate as used to as it is either a repeated action in the past or something of long or unclear duration. Obviously passing someone's house is a finite action and would normally take the pretérito. So the imperfect tells us that it was repeated or routine. As for not saying "by", I don't know if Duo accepts that. It doesn't make any difference in English, but Duo may want you to demonstrate understanding of all the prepositions that por sometimes can be translated into. There are quite a few, but most people think "for".
So the imperfect tells us that it was repeated or routine.
Not necessarily. As well as the repeated and routine, the imperfect can also describe people, characters, things, places, times and events from the past that are setting a scene. Granted, when this is the case a reader would expect something more: "I was passing by your house when ..." but the sentence can stand alone.
Eran las ocho de la noche - It was eight at night
El cielo estaba oscuro - The sky was dark
Yo pasaba por tu casa - I was passing by your house
La puerta estaba abierta - The door was open
To be fair "Yo pasaba por tu casa" in this scenario could just as easily be translated as "I passed by your house" and "I was passing by your house" could just as easily be "Yo estaba pasando por tu casa" but the main point is that the imperfect can translate to our past progressive.
What is probably worth mentioning (for those who share a dislike of, or are confused by, the persistent "used to" imperfect translation) is that in the scenario I have created above "Yo pasaba por tu casa" does not translate to "I used to pass by your house."
I do have the used to stuff, but I had always gotten the impression that such a short finite action was too immediately adjacent to whatever the main past event was to qualify as setting the scene. I am of course aware of the other uses of the imperfect.,which is one of the main reasons I hate the used to crutch. Like the false temporary/permanent issue for estar and ser, it leaves students confused by all the cases that didn't fit it. Certainly describing what you saw around you is setting the scene, but I thought your own actions (as opposed to thoughts and feelings) would be in the pretérito or the past progressive to indicate that you were interrupted while doing so. . And certainly in English we used progressive tenses very frequently so the progressive is often an option. But given Duo's norm of tense for tense, I was actually probably too focused on explaining why it was a Duo issue without explaining as I usually do that there is a difference between Duo correct and real world Spanish correct based on the limitations of the platform.
Fair enough Lynette and good point re the immediately adjacent sense of my actions. I have taken a liberty to highlight the point. If the actions are separate rather than an establishing shot, as it were, then indeed the preterite is preferable for those actions subsequent to the scene setting. With regard to the imperfect or the imperfect progressive I have been told by native speakers that this comes down to author choice. Although, I agree with you, the imperfect progressive sounds much better to me (but this may just be because it mirrors our English).
Not specifying which two definitions makes it more difficult, but you have to realize that many sentences spoken every day can be ambiguous. Most of the time the context is so present in our mind that we are not even aware of other possible meanings. Certainly that is true if your two translations are passing by your house and passing through your house. Por is a preposition that indicates several different sorts of actions, and I would imagine that occasionally there may be some ambiguity even for native Spanish speakers. But this is probably not one of them. Most people don't pass through other people's houses, and the context would have to be rather specific for someone to hear por as through in this context. That is also why sometimes valid translations are marked wrong on Duo. The other meaning just didn't occur to them at the time. It is also why translation engines are so flawed. We have not yet been able to teach a computer all a native speaker knows about language and culture.
CeThat's a slightly complex question, but as asked the answer is not really. If you are asking someone where they were at a particular time and the answer is an action, that's generally a preterite response. Pasé por tu casa. Alternatively, if you really wanted to emphasize that you were in the middle of doing so at that exact moment, theoretically you could say estuve pasado por tu casa.
The main time when you will have the imperfect translated as the past progressive is if it were setting the scene in the past. That is one of the three main functions of the imperfect. If the next sentence was Suddenly a man jumped out of the bushes, then your translation would be appropriate here
The other two functions of the imperfect are to talk about repeated or customary actions in the past, and to talk about actions without a clear beginning and end. The translation shown above employed used to to suggest repeated or routine actions. I hate that convention because used to is not required in English and better expressed in Spanish by solía, but it does help explain the usage. Simple action verbs like pasar (at least in this meaning), hablar, comprar etc are almost never in the imperfect for reason 3, but verbs like pensar, creer, sentir are actually often more comfortable there, and of course there are verbs like saber and conocer whose meanings change from the expected one if in the preterite.
I don't see a difference between passing and passing by in English, except maybe a different reference group. I would almost always personally say just passed/was passing, but I don't think adding by would ever be wrong. But in the Spanish sentence, by is represented by por, so I guess that I would say pasaba is just was passing and por is by. But pasar has many meanings and usages.
As an American, I want to assure you that, although this course has mostly American English, just because a sentence sounds a little strange does not NECESSARILY mean they are using American constructions. It is also much more common in America (or at least the Northeast and Southern California places I have lived) to say I was passing your house. I think Duo may have just wanted to provide a translation for por, since it has so many possible translations.
You can translate the imperfect as the past progressive, but only in the correct circumstances. One of the three functions of the imperfect is to set the scene in the past in Spanish. We generally set the scene using the past progressive in English. But in order for this to be a scene setting sentence, you would have to include the scene. Yo pasaba por tú casa cuando un disparo sonó. The other issue is that pasar doesn't really mean to walk, although dar un paseo is to take a walk. Pasar is more like passed by than walked by. So I would translate my past progressive sentence as I was passing by your house when a shot rang out. If I wanted to say I was walking in that sentence I would say caminaba or andaba.
The use of "used to" and "use to" by Duo is not consistent, so it is very confusing and unsatisfactory. Please clarify when to use which! Also, Duo favours American English which means that sometimes, answers which are correct in Australian English are given the red cross. :-(
Used to and use to is actually neither inconsistent on Duo, nor difficult to grasp. You just have to realize that the difference in sound between used to and use to absolutely cannot be heard at normal conversational speeds. But if you look at other verb phrases in the past as both affirmative statements or negatives and questions using did or didn't. It is always true that it is the did which takes the past tense. The verb takes the infinitive root, which is basically the present tense, except it doesn't change in the third person. So take other verbs in the past and look at what happens if you add any form of did or didn't. He worked yesterday. Past tense. Did he work yesterday? Still past tense, but work is in the infinitive root form. I thought that it was over. She didn't think it was over. Same story here, so lets look at used to. I used to go to the beach. Did you use to go to the beach? Same thing there. The did seems somehow removed, but it works the same. You just aren't used to two auxiliary verbs in the past.
As for Australian English, that's tougher. To the extent that it is like British English, some effort has been, and is being made to accommodate that vocabulary. The problem is that to the extent words have different meanings in the different dialects, Duo has to pick a horse, and that horse is American English. But many times multiple dialects can be accepted. Keep asking Duo through proper channels.
Your comment was based on the English translation not the Spanish sentence. One of the issues here is that the Spanish sentence is ambiguous. It could mean passed on the outside as in passed by or it could mean passed through as in going through the house on the way to the backyard. I have no idea as to the relative frequency of passed as compared to passed by in the US, but I wouldn't find either of them unusual. But I think Duo probably chose passed by to underline that definition. Although the other one is possible, it would not often apply. But I for one would be quite startled if someone said this sentence to me and I didn't know it could mean to pass by as well as pass through.
But you will find some definite conflicts between British and American English translations. I did abandon one Spanish language program because it was based on British English and I began to realize that there were a lot more subtle differences than I had been aware of. I had known simple things like boot for trunk and lorry for truck. But even seeing holiday as a translation made me have to research whether the foreign word meant vacation or bank holiday.
AnnettePacey is right, actually. "Yo pasaba por tu casa" can also be translated as "I used to pop in/pop round/stop by/go over/drop by/go to your house", among others. In fact, when we invite someone over, we often say, "Pásate por mi casa", using the reflexive form. Hope it helps!