can anyone explain why the act of falling is said before the object that fell? it's confusing to try and translate.
Because the subject is he, not the box. As far as I know, the only way to say "drop" in Spanish is dejar caer. So the sentence shows the typical subject - verb - direct object order. He dropped the box.
Right. German and French (at least) also have no single word for 'to drop' and have to express it as by two verbs 'to let fall'.
I mean, you can actually say "He let fall the box" in English, it just sounds a little Lord of the Rings prophecy like. Most people wouldn't, but I'm guessing it's standard in Spanish?
Since it's been mentioned, does anyone know the prophecy of the One Ring in Spanish? I only know it in English and Mordor-ese.
un anillo para gobernarlos a todos, un anillo para encontrarlos, un anillo para traerlos a todos y en la oscuridad atarlos
I love how it still fits the meter and rhymes :)
My Spanish edition (©1991, Ediciones Minotauro) reads slightly differently: "Un Anillo para gobernarlos a todos. Un anillo para encontrarlos, un Anillo para atraerlos a todos y atarlos en las tinieblas en la Tierra de Mordor donde se extienden las Sombras." I personally like the German version, available with multiple other translations, at http://www.elrondslibrary.fr/RingVerse.html
Maybe because it is wrong? "He let fall the box." is not natural English. Although it might be used for dramatic purpose, it's not something people would normally say.
I don't think the English phrasing is really meant to match the Spanish phrasing in this particular case. (Lord of the Rings be damned.) My understanding is that "dejar caer" is used to imply intentionality as opposed to an accident (caerse).
I believe the more typical English version would be, "He let the box fall," with the implication that he could have prevented it. A more accidentally dropped box would be described thusly, "Se le cayeron la caja."
Of course, I could be totally wrong. I just cobbled together info from various sources in order to figure out the reason for the compound verb.
You have it backwards David. Dejar caer is actually the more intentional dropping. It is saying that you are choosing to let it drop (you allow it to drop) You have the construction of the other option wrong, though. It is a passive construction. La caja is actually the subject. Se le cayó la caja (a él) You chose the third person plural, but I am not sure why. If you look towards the bottom of this link, our specific question is addressed.
Thank you for your correction to my caerse hack. It was lifted from another example in which the subject (las llaves or keys) was obviously plural. In my haste to graft it with "the box," I completely missed that not so subtle point. Thanks also for the reference to "se" usage. One, meaning I, can (almost) never have too much information.
As for getting it backwards, I think you misread what I wrote, which was, "'"dejar caer' is used to imply intentionality." I explicitly contrasted that with "caerse," which I indicated was more appropriate for accidental or nonintentional drops. Given my failure with the singular/plural form of caer, I'll take responsibility for leading you astray.
FYI, I used, "http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/drop" to study up on Spanish translations of "to drop."
lynettemcw & David. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading this exchange between the two of you. It was the perfect mix of enthusiasm, humility, politeness, and genuine interest in learning. We would all be better people if we could dialogue like this. saludos.
You are correct, I misread your post. My head was a little backwards yesterday. Spanishdict is my go to resource for definitions, conjugation and grammar. Duo is great for drilling usage and coming up with random things that you need to construct a sentence for, but it doesn't do nuance really at all. So I use Spanishdict.com and then occasionally attempt to get further information from native or near native speakers as to relative weight and frequency of usage, etc.
'He let fall the box' is quite current in Britain. I enjoy Duolingo, but I am fairly often told quite wrongly that my English translations aren't acceptable.
You have to remember that Duo is a computer program. Each answer has to be individually programmed into the database. It is not as if Duo reads your answer and decides that it is not correct, it simply either does or does not match an answer in the database of correct answers. People seem to get their feelings hurt about it as if Duo is attacking their English skills.
Being from Britain definitely makes it more difficult to use Duo's common for common convention. English syntax is a lot more flexible in some ways, although it is less flexible in other ways. When the most common structure of a Spanish sentence is distinctly different from the common structure of the English sentence, Duo likes to highlight the differences. Being able to translate this sentence literally does not ensure that the user will understand that this is essentially the only way to express the verb to drop in Spanish. It's interesting that, at least for me, dropping something can be either intentional or by accident, but I would only say let fall to indicate an accident. And of course Duo does like to split the components of a separatable verb phrase. Some separatable verb phrases are separated or not with about equal frequency. I would probably say I am going to pick up the kids as I am going to pick the kids up. But I would never say He let fall the box. It would always be He let the box fall or he dropped the box. It makes sense that some of that difference might be American versus British English. But the goal Duo has of trying to use only the most classic structures, that judgment will be based on American English. Duo teaches American English, Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. You might consider that overly New World heavy. It might be partially affected by Duo's American bias, but those are all the regions with the greatest number of native speakers of each language. Dialects are different and it is going to cause.confusion, but at least they confuse the fewest people.
You have to think how Yoda would say it. "Let fall the box, he did. A pity, it is."
Hopefully this helps:
In spanish, the person does not take the blame for the drop of an item, it's the object's fault. So, instead of saying, "I dropped the box" we literally say, "the box dropped itself" which is why duolingo uses the phrase, "the box fell".
Two English speaking siblings might argue:
"The box fell!" "That's because YOU dropped it!"
In Spanish it would be said:
"The box dropped itself!" "Well, don't just stand there; pick it up!"
The subject of the sentence is he. He let fall the box. If we used this construction we would definitely say he let the box fall, but these verb expressions are never split up in Spanish. So if you replace the box with "it" it would be Él la dejó caer or Él dejó caerla.
"He let fall the box". It just sounds like poetic English. U get used to it.
Many expressions in different languages will be out of order in our English perspective. If you can get used to that change, it will eventually sound correct.
I did the exact literal translation above, " he let fall the box" and it was rejected! I know that DL wants us to use the conventional word order, but the the other is not wrong! Clearly , literary English plays with word order all the time. So we are now limited to spoken conventions? :(
French also uses the construction "to let fall" for "to drop" - "laisser tomber."
Not really. That construction is very unusual. I don't think I ever heard it, but certainly not often. The Duo convention is common for common. In Spanish there is no other option than dejó caer. You cannot split up a verb phrase in Spanish. But this is one expression where English speakers will overwhelmingly split the phrase. So essentially one of the purposes of this exercise is to point that out.
Lol, I translated this, "He let fall the box" which I think would be technically right but it sounds so pretentious. Anyway, it was marked wrong.
Think you are correct Venellope-13. I wrote "he dropped the box" and it was accepted.
Not sure what you mean... pronouns are words that replace nouns (in English: I, you, he, she, it, we, they...), these words are not used in either the Spanish or English translation.
Now, if there were an indirect object, you would use these in the Spanish sentence, even if not needed in the English, but this sentence does not have an indirect object.
OK, I obviously haven't understood pronouns. I'll have to go and read up on it.
Isn't it "He lets the box fall" ? I thought in english 3. person singular adds that extra "s". Or is this supposed to be past tense? Im confused
nobody seems to answer why object "the box" is not before "caer". from what I learnt so far, I would say "Él dejó la caer a la caja" or "Él dejó la caja caer" ? Any ideas?
"Dejó caer" is a verb phrase and you generally can't split those in Spanish.
He let fall the box is correct English with the same meaning as he let the box fall. It is a more precise translation of the Spanish in this case as it puts the words in the same order.
Why use "dejo" here? Why not use "deja" because of the conjugation with "el"
You have to watch the accent carefully. It is not dejo but dejó here. While dejo is the first person singular of the present tense, dejó is the third person singular in the preterite. And this accent does change the stress to the last syllable. It is difficult because of the translation using let. And let does not change between the present and the past.
My best guess would be that it didn't occur to the admin(s) to count it as a valid translation because it sounds sort of clunky in English and definitely wouldn't be the preferred translation. It's technically correct, but you wouldn't expect to hear it in regular use, so that's probably why they didn't add it in as an acceptable answer, and since they presumably haven't fixed that since then, it's more than likely that not enough people have translated it as that to warrant a change.
I put "He lets the box fall" Shouldn't that be fine too? He lets it fall? It marked me wrong.
I believe we can either say, "he let the box fall" or "he allowed the box to fall." Can someone explain why "to" is needed with "allowed"? It sounds wrong without it but I'm not sure why?
La is the direct object pronoun. Although the INDIRECT object pronoun is required in Spanish, whether the indirect object is specified in the sentence or not, the direct object pronoun is not. It is as wrong in Spanish to use both the pronoun and the specifed object as it would be to say in English "He dropped it the box. As in English you say Él dejo caer la caja OR Él la dejo caer.
I think that "he let fall the Box" should have been accepted. Reported April 20 2016
I disagree. First of all let fall would be the English equivalent to a German separable verb, so the correct English expression would be He let the box fall. Secondly, the implication of that sentence in English are more that he allowed the box to fall, he made some sort of decision about it. Although that is the literal translation of the Spanish phrase, the Spanish does not have the same connotation. This is simply the way to say dropped in Spanish. It means nothing more or less.
So, it' s in my opinion. Larosymalara@com.it .May 22 2017. (He let fall in the box)
US ENGLISH SPEAKERS WOULD NEVER say or think to say "he let fall the box" It is not the correct order of speaking here. We clearly are here to learn the order of things in Español but we would never be able to translate a sentence back to English in that order. ; )
I thought "dejar" meant "to stop", so translated it as: "He stopped the box falling." which is (of course) exactly the opposite.
Checking google translate, "dejar" DOES mean "to stop".....odd that it means both "to stop" and "to allow".
Is there any easy way to know which one is intended? Seems like it might be a source of ongoing confusion for me.
The better resource for word definition in Spanishdict.com as they give in depth definitions with a lot of examples. The best way to think of dejar is as to leave, although others translations are more appropriate to specific occurrences But, at least in colloquial English, we do have expressions like leave it be, leave it alone, etc which is basically the same as to let. And you can also speak colloquially about leaving off doing something which is in effect to stop. Here is the link from Spanishdict which should help you.
Gracias. Si, SpanishDict es bueno. Uso ambos, pero por lo general google primero.
I noticed both "stop" and "allow" in Duolingo, as well. English seems to have that 'contradictory' meaning, as well. (I let it fall = allow, I let it be = stop.) Kinda/sorta, anyway.
I point things out like this to myself, to help myself learn. Posted here, 'cuz I figured other people might face the same confusion.
Él dejó escribir con la pluma. = He stopped writing with the pen.
Él dejó caer la pluma. = He "allowed fall" the pen.
Perhaps if I think of it as "non interference". If don't interfere with the pen....the writing stops. If I don't interfere with the box....it falls.
So I'm assuming "he let go of the box" was marked wrong because they want me to specify that the box took a fall due to his actions?
"he let fall the box" seems to me to be the most literal way to translate this in to english, which is helpful in reinforcing Spanish grammar, but stupid Duolingo marks you wrong if you do so.
Let fall is not a set verb phrase in English like let in or let down. The let must actually be followed by the direct object and then fall. But actually, although Duo shows He let the box fall as the preferred translation because it is literal, the best translation is actually how it would be translated in most contexts which is He dropped the box. Spanish has no word for to drop per se. That is said with dejar caer. And actually if you are talking about accidentally letting the box fall, which is probably assumed in English, you would use caerse.
Many sentences have been sentences for the 4 or so years I have been using Duo. They do occasionally retire some, but more often they want the added ones to just increase the number of possible exercises. But this is not the correct forum to request program changes at any rate. We are all just users here.
I still can't get my head around dejar meaning to let or to stop, they seem to be opposites
It means to let or to leave, and leave is connected to the idea of stopping. Dejar itself doesn't mean to stop. It can mean to stop DOING SOMETHING in the construction dejar de [infinitive]. There was a construction I used to hear in English. It is definitely part of a distinct dialect, but I don't know whether it went out of style or I moved away from where it is common. But people used to talk about leaving off doing something, meaning they were going to stop. It generally was about a vice or bad habit, but it does have obvious resemblance.
Well, actually I would dispute that drop denotes intention, although it can. You also say drop when it was unintentional. The actual significant difference between drop and fall is that drop assumes that someone or something had some sort of possession of the item prior to it falling. But the same concept is included in the idea of LETTING something fall. There is no single word for it, but both possible meanings are essentially represented, although perhaps not as strongly.