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"¿Por qué no tocas a la tortuga?"

Translation:Why don't you touch the turtle?

1
5 years ago

71 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/wolf79823

Would the sentence still be correct. i..e. would it make sense to not include the "a"

113
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yodpungtiem

The "a" is usually included if the person is personifying the animal, i.e., a pet. Otherwise, you normally don't need the "a" in this construction.

62
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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The main factors determining the presence of the accusative ‘a’ in various dialects of Spanish are (1) animacy, (2) determinacy, and (3) specificity. Humanness is a distant fourth.

39
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack_Mehoff

Yup, i know some of those words you say.

138
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Donnellyo

You can always count on Mr. Mehoff for some comic relief

13
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yodpungtiem

I am working on my Ph.D. in Spanish Philology therefore I am very well of this and the article by Heusinger & Kaiser (2005). However, you respond to people's questions as if they are going to understand all of the linguistic jargon you use. This is Duolingo.com and the simplest answer, for the purpose of these exercises, is sufficient enough. All of these sentences, after all, are based on the "standard" written form of the language that do not represent what some communities of Spanish speakers actually say. However, this site does provide a start to language learning.

40
24 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evrickk

I appreciated the correct, proper answer. Not everyone needs to be coddled.

12
14 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fluent2B

It would surely simplify things if the personal a were extended to all animals in all cases. Otherwise the application seems rather arbitrary. Or am I wrong?

5
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
Rae.F
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It's not arbitrary, there are rules. If it's some anonymous, random animal, then you don't use the personal "a," but if it's a pet, you do.

Even with people, you can sometimes omit the personal "a." If you're out and about and you observe that there's no one in sight, you can say "No veo nadie." But if you were on the lookout for some particular people you were supposed to meet up with and they weren't there, then you would say "No veo a nadie."

33
24 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PrincessSm1

So, is this an example of someone asking someone else to touch their pet turtle? Just for clarity, because we wouldn't use a la turtuga otherwise.

5
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Most modern Spanish grammars consider the ‘a’ to be obligatory for animate direct objects, but there is some variation in actual speech. In this sentence, the 2nd-person form ‘tocas’ of the transitive verb makes it clear that ‘la tortuga’ is not the subject, so the ‘a’ can theoretically be omitted without confusion, and sometimes is omitted in such cases.

18
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zopilotes

The personal a is cool because it allows for more freedom of word order. Julieta quiere Romeo. is not a complete, grammatical sentence because we don't know yet who loves whom. A Juleta quiere Romeo = Romeo loves Juliet.

83
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/habibt

what if we wrote that as romeo quiere a juleta... would that still translate to romeo loves juliet?

11
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Yes.

6
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thestud2012

that's pretty neat!

6
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DXabier
DXabier
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You are right when you say that it is not a complete, grammatical sentence, but we are able to know how loves whom and that is because of the order of the words, even when the "a" is missing.

If you want to say "Romeo loves Juliet" you would say either "a Julieta la quiere Romeo" (but this is not a very common way to say that) or "Romeo quiere a Julieta"

2
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zopilotes

ajá -- and you are still using the personal a's!

5
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rayvd

So this would be like saying "Juliet is the love of Romeo" vs. "Romeo loves Juliet".

1
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Salxandra
Salxandra
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Someone else provided this link for a different sentence with the same grammar issue. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/personal_a.htm It helped me to understand this odd "a" that is being added to some Spanish sentences.

20
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Unfortunately, that article in About.com draws mistaken conclusions. In modern Spanish, the ‘a’ is normally obligatory for definite animate direct objects, whether or not they're persons. Yes, ‘a’ is usually omitted in ‘Veo tres elefantes’, but it's also usually omitted in ‘Veo tres perros.’, and even in ‘Veo tres hombres.’, because the object is indefinite; it has very little to do with the humanness or personification of the object. In fact, in some Spanish dialects, particularly in Latin America, the ‘a’ is even being extended to inanimate direct objects.

There's a vast literature on this topic under the rubrics of “prepositional accusative” (‘acusativo preposicional’), “accusative ‘a’”, “prepositional direct object” (‘complemento directo preposicional’), and more generally “differential object marking”. See, for example, “The evolution of differential object marking in Spanish” by Heusinger & Kaiser (http://ling.uni-konstanz.de/pages/home/kaiser/files/Heusinger_Kaiser2005.pdf).

11
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duomail
Duomail
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The use of "ningunos" sounded strange or wrong to me, in the page linking http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/personal_a.htm above.
Although Wiktionary says that the plural "ningunos" is indeed used, but not much, I can't remember a proper use of it. http://es.wiktionary.org/wiki/ninguno

On the other hand, I think the preposition could be omitted in this case. However, people sometimes speaks as well like :¿Por qué no la tocas a la tortuga?"

3
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suezq
suezq
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I am hoping that in duolingo English you are not including sentences such as-However, people sometimes speaks as well like:

1
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RCLM90

Thank you! That was very helpful!

0
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shamal_K

Why is there an "a" in this sentence? I know that for sentences in which the direct object is a person, you're meant to use this "a" but in this case, isn't the direct object the turtle? So why the "a"

9
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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The personal "a" is used for pets too I think. Maybe it is a pet turtle.

9
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Because it's an animate definite direct object. It doesn't have to be a person or a pet, just an animal.

4
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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“Personal ‘a’” is a misleading misnomer. The prepositional accusative ‘a’ is used whenever a definite direct object is animate, not just when it's a person.

2
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zopilotes

Ah yes, double entendres. There's a whole song about is she a mula chula or or is she a chula mula. (Mule that 's cute, or a girl that has the personality of a mule) Check it out on youtube -- sung by Pepe Aguilar.

3
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AbraxunsIllusion

I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE: WHY NOT TOUCH THE TURTLE?

2
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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That would be ‘¿Por qué no tocar a la tortuga?’.

2
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AbraxunsIllusion

O thanks

1
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PupherFish

Tocas vs. Tocar?

2
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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‘¿Por qué no tocas a la tortuga?’ = “Why don't you [familiar singular] touch the turtle?”.

‘¿Por qué no tocar a la tortuga?’ = “Why not [anyone] touch the turtle?”.

5
14 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PupherFish

That clears it up, thanks!!

0
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maosa

I do not understand where the DO YOU is in this sentence.

2
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BaconAddict
BaconAddict
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"Por qué no" means why not and "tocas" is the "you" conjugation of the verb tocar so it roughly translates to "Why do you not touch..."

2
14 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maosa

Thank you . I understand a little better. I think it is a awkward sentence, as many of the duolingo sentences are. My favorite silly sentence . "she talks with the Lion" Silly stuff no one in English would say. Thanks.

0
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shruti.patankar

Doesnt the verb tocar mean "to play" ? I had typed the translation as "Why don't you play with the turtle?"

1
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ceaer
ceaer
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"tocar" only means "to play" in the sense of "to play an instrument". "to play with" would be "jugar con"

7
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PineCreek
PineCreek
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tocar means to touch or to play (a music instrument)

4
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sallie

I believe that there are some verbs that are always followed by an "a"

1
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gasiormichal

So is it allowed in spanish to say it without "a" in such sentence?

1
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mattman1701
mattman1701
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Only if it's not a pet turtle. The inclusion of the "a" indicates that the person asking the question has affection for the turtle. Although in real conversation I imagine it would be, "¿Por qué no tocas a mí tortuga?"

6
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zopilotes

I like the idea of leaving in the a. Then it makes it a pet turtle "person".

1
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barrelroll

could this be "Por que no tocas al tortuga?"

1
15 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daa5417

"al" is the combination of "a+el". Tortuga's article is "la".

6
15 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cparish

Why is it not "Why can't you touch the turtle?"

1
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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That would be ‘¿Por qué no puedes tocar a la tortuga?’.

2
14 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johnny828

Can you have sentences that say How come you are not touching the turtle? Because nobody talks like this. Why do you not touch the turtle?

1
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielHind1

But they do say, Why don't you touch the turtle? Little strange but not so much. Probably other than 'How come..' I guess 'Why wouldn't you' would be a good alternative

0
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/f666
f666
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What is wrong with "Why you don't touch the turtle?"

0
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dac123
dac123
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the word order is very awkward. You would be understood if you said that, but it should be Why don't you touch the turtle? Or: Why do you not touch the turtle?

2
5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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In English questions beginning with an interrogative word (such as “why”, “how”, “which”, “what”, “whom”, “where”, “whose”, “when”), the order of subject and verb is always inverted.

1
5 years ago